updated 5/6/2007 1:57:05 PM ET 2007-05-06T17:57:05

Portions of this response were edited for brevity.

What is the Army's reaction to this report [IDA], which ranks both Trophy and Iron Fist, two Israeli systems, ahead of the Raytheon system chosen by the Army?

IDA assesses relative systems maturity, not systems capabilities. An independent, fair and objective source selection process that involved various U.S. government agencies and industry partners found that the Army's chosen Active Protection System (APS) will best protect Soldiers against current and rapidly emerging threats. The IDA report does not dispute this assessment, but notes that other systems may currently be more mature.

If this question is in context to your previous reporting, then NBC News has consistently failed to accurately represent the Army's procurement of an Active Protection System (APS) that will protect Soldiers from Rocket Protected Grenades (RPGs), mortars, antitank-guided missiles, tank-KE/HEAT ammunition rounds, top-attack/precision-guided missiles, and large-caliber cannon fire.

Moreover, follow-up discussions with the IDA investigators indicate that the other systems would be effective "if they work as advertised." When fielding capabilities to Soldiers, the Army relies upon demonstrated results in an operational environment, not advertisement brochures.

This report says Trophy is "the most mature of developmental APS, with significant demonstrated capabilities against several threats" and is in "an advanced stage of development." It also recommends that the Pentagon proceed with testing of Trophy as the Office of Force Transformation recommended, and the Army blocked. Some experts say this is a rebuke of the Army. What is the Army's response?

The Army never "blocked" testing of any Active Protection System (APS); nor does the IDA report say or even imply that we did. The Pentagon's Office of Force Transformation was an independent government agency. They of course had the authority to do whatever testing they desired with or without Army concurrence.

Other Active Protection Systems (APS) may be more mature at their current stage of development; however, an independent, fair, and objective source-selection process found the Army's Active Protection System (APS) will best protect Soldiers against current and rapidly emerging threats. The Army, therefore, is dedicating its limited financial resources to where they can do the most good for our Soldiers -- and that is on an Active Protection System (APS) that is designed to protect against both current and rapidly emerging future threats.

The report also seriously questions the Raytheon Quick Kill option chosen by the Army, saying the critical radar isn't developed and that testing has stopped because the warhead needs to be redesigned. Does the Army have any second thoughts about selecting this system?

No, the Army does not have any second thoughts. The independent source selection fairly evaluated all candidates through a best-value selection process.

All of our developmental work and testing to date confirms that the Army's Active Protection System (APS) will best protect Soldiers against current and rapidly emerging threats. The IDA report does not dispute this assessment, but notes that the Army's Active Protection System (APS) requires further developmental work.

The report also seems to question the selection of Raytheon for an APS solution, saying an "independent" analysis of that system needs to be done. Your response?

The IDA report notes that fresh and independent analyses can be helpful as the Army works through developmental issues for its Active Protection System (APS). The Army is an open and transparent institution that continually learns and adapts from new perspectives; we of course welcome fresh and independent analyses.

The Army closes its response by offering NBC News a tutorial on weapons procurement and by proposing a live television interview only. The Army adds:

We are engaged in a long war, and this next decade likely will be one of persistent conflict. Our number one equipping priority is our most precious asset, the Soldier. Therefore, we will continue to do everything possible to protect our Soldiers against current and rapidly emerging threats.

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