The long anticipated Sentinel project would upgrade missile silos across the southern panhandle of Nebraska, northern Colorado, and eastern Wyoming; and presumably bring several hundred temporary jobs to the region.

After a series of town hall meetings to prepare area residents and multiple start dates coming and going without much of any activity, the project appears to be going back to the drawing board.

On January 18 of this year, the US Air Force notified congress that the Sentinel project was projected to go over budget by as much as 81%. That would trigger a breach of the Nunn-McCurdy statute, and so a review of the project was done. 

Dr. William A. LaPlante was put in charge of the review by the department of defense. In a six month review, LaPlante found that while it was necessary for the project to continue, he rescinded the program's Milestone B, a term used for the decision to go ahead with full development of the program. Milestone B was originally hit in September of 2020. Now the Air Force must restructure the program and make a new plan.

"Preserving schedule will be a key consideration during this restructuring, but a delay of several years is currently estimated," LaPlante said. "In hindsight, just where we are today in July 2024 and looking over this that the Nunn-McCurdy review did, the results of it including the root cause, it's clear, and certainly for the ground segment, that the department was not at a preliminary design review, PDR, level of maturity at the Milestone B, which was in September of 2020.

The time line for the project is now unclear as further money will not be spent until the Air Force submits a new plan. LaPlante points out that the Nunn-McCurdy statute specifies other alternatives must be examined for getting equal or better performance at less cost. He confirmed four or five alternatives will be reviewed during this time.