Missile defense system to be deployed even though it doesn’t work.

As long as we’re talking about G.W. Bush and his insistence on moving ahead with bad ideas we may as well bring up that long-range ballistic missile defense system he ordered to be operational by October of this year. Seems the folks in the Missile Defense Agency will be rolling it out on schedule even though they admit that various major components behind its operation aren’t actually available or known to even work properly yet.

Government Executive Magazine – 1/8/04 Missile defense system called far from ready

In December 2002 Bush directed the military to deploy an initial missile defense capability by October 2004, which would include six missile interceptors in Alaska and four at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. While it appears that the interceptors are on track to be fielded by the deadline, the Missile Defense Agency has indicated that other system components will not be ready and that alternatives will be used.

“They’ll deploy something in Alaska and claim it’s a protective system, but where’s the X-band radar? Where are those crucial systems for detection, tracking, and discrimination” of enemy missiles and warheads, Spratt asked.

“You can put something out there and you can claim we can do it with [existing missile detection sensors] and you can claim its adequate for the threat that we’re facing, but it’s a long way from what everybody thought was necessary for a minimal system,” he said.

Spratt said that U.S. efforts to develop new space-based infrared systems (SBIRS) for target detecting and tracking have “got lots of problems to work out.”

As with so many other things from this administration as of late this has the stink of election year politics all over it. I’d hazard to guess that the administration is betting that whether it works or not will be a moot point as the need to use it won’t likely arise before the election takes place (if at all). The folks most likely to use long-range ballistic missiles against us are the least likely to have access to them so this works as a great accomplishment claim for raising votes. Not to mention making for good profits for defense contractors. Surely a win-win situation for the administration.

4 thoughts on “Missile defense system to be deployed even though it doesn’t work.

  1. I imagine that as the year progresses we will see Bush scramble to put all sorts of dubious programs in place (and quicken the pace of others) because his Neo-Con handlers are no longer sure he can win 2004. Might as well do as much damage to the country as they can now rather than risk being forced to wait four more years. I hope that history will remember this administration as the cancer it is.

  2. He’s already doing it Eric.

    -Fly me to the moon (and on to wherever).

    -$1.5B to teach people how to succeed en famile.

    To name two. I know there is at least one more, but short term memory fails again.

  3. I have to agree that the NeoCons are worried about ShrubCo making a second term.

    Just one thing… PLEASE VOTE ANYWAY!
    I have seriously had enough of this guy.

  4. The threat of a ballistic missile attack on the United States is evolving. Although Russia’s arsenal is shrinking, the United States remains vulnerable to a large Russian attack with ICBM and submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) strikes, employing multiple independent re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) and decoys. Meanwhile, China has a small, but growing, ICBM force capable of reaching the United States.

    The ballistic missile capabilities of other countries are growing, albeit slowly, and with them, the threat to the United States from rogue countries. At present, only North Korea has a system (the Taepo-Dong) that could reach the United States. Iran could have a system as early as 2005, but it is more likely to acquire one in the 2010-2015 period. Other nations (India, Pakistan, Iraq, and Israel) that currently possess medium-range (1,000 to 5,000 km) ballistic missile capability may develop or acquire missiles that attain intercontinental range (over 5,500 km). The pace of this growth depends significantly on assistance from other countries (Russia and China) and on the growing accessibility of dual-use technologies. It is expected that countries with ballistic missiles will acquire countermeasures in so far as they can, when confronted by missile defense. It is concluded that other than Russia and China, only North Korea and perhaps Iran are likely to have the ability to attack the United States with ICBMs before 2015.

    However, ICBMs are hardly the only—or even the most likely—threat to U.S. security. The United States remains vulnerable to nuclear, chemical, and biological attacks delivered by various means. Potential attackers enjoy a wealth of options: cruise missiles, aircraft, short-range ballistic missiles launched from a ship or submarine, or surreptitious transfer by truck or suitcase. Not only are these alternatives credible and cheaper to develop than ICBMs, but they are easier to deploy covertly than ICBMs, which require long-range testing and are more identifiable by intelligence. Subnational terrorist groups, which many analysts consider more likely to attack the United States than rogue countries, are liable to use these alternative delivery means.
    The United States requires a balanced defense against the range of possible attacks against its homeland. The deployment of an NMD system—which defends only against ICBMs—implies a judgment on the likelihood of alternative threats and an ability to meet them. Although ICBMS tend to garner significant media attention and seem to arouse special fear in the public, you should question whether the United States should disregard a host of other possible threats that may meet attackers’ needs with greater ease.

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