North Korea has Nuclear Missiles, Iran is about to get them, and we have a President who promises that "after [his] election" he will have more "flexibility" on missile defense -- that should make you feel safe!

Ken 2012/09/12 17:08:04

September 11, 2012
N.Y. Times News Service

U.S. Missile Defense Strategy Is Flawed, Expert Panel Finds


After two years of study, a panel of top scientists and military experts working for the National Research Council
has concluded that the nation’s protections against missile attacks
suffer from major shortcomings, leaving the United States vulnerable to
some kinds of long-range strikes.

In a report, the panel suggested that President Obama shift course by
expanding a system he inherited from President George W. Bush and by
setting aside the final part of an antimissile strategy he unveiled in
2009. In so doing, the panel said, the president could set up the
nation’s defenses to better defeat the kinds of long-range missiles that
Iran may be developing. [Isn't this just a great
time for a President who has promised that "after [his] next election"
he can be more "flexible" on ballistic missile defense? Remember, this
is a President who has already been so "flexible" that he cancelled
missile defense installations scheduled to be installed on the soil of
two of our allied nations without consulting them, on "suggestions" from
Russia and with no "tit for tat" in return!]

It is the first time that the research council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, has weighed in on the nation’s overall plans for defeating missile attacks.

Chartered by Congress to give scientific and technical advice to the
government, the council is considered to be the nation’s preeminent
group of scientists. The 16-person panel consists of scientists,
engineers and weapons experts from universities, research groups and
national laboratories, including one in Livermore, Calif., that deals
with nuclear arms.

Philip E. Coyle III, a former national security official in the Obama
White House and a former director of weapons testing at the Pentagon,
said the panel’s report exposed a system that should be rebuilt from top
to bottom, adding that the antimissile complex was geared toward
“producing and fielding hardware” rather than actually devising ways to
deflect enemy attacks.

The Pentagon wrote off the report as pedestrian. Richard Lehner of the
Missile Defense Agency, an arm of the Pentagon that erects the
ground-based interceptors, called the panel’s alarm bells about the
system’s limitations “an old story” and the need to focus more on enemy
countermeasures unsurprising and “totally logical.”

In its highly technical, 260-page report,
the panel recommended an overhaul that would make the antimissile
system “far more effective,” including adding new sensors and
interceptor rockets, as well as an additional base in Maine or upstate
New York from which interceptors could be fired.
The nation’s two
existing bases are in California and Alaska. The report called the plan
affordable, saying it could fit within current antimissile spending —
which runs about $10 billion a year — if the military eliminated what
the panel described as costly and unneeded systems, like a $28 billion
constellation of satellites meant to track enemy warheads.

The assessment is a major blow to Mr. Obama’s strategy of playing down
the long-range defenses he inherited from Mr. Bush and focusing instead
on defenses in Europe against shorter-range Iranian missiles. He
articulated the shift in September 2009, calling the envisioned system
“stronger, smarter and swifter.”

But the report, released Tuesday, faulted the results. It said the
domestic defenses in place could probably handle crude missiles fired
from North Korea, but nothing more sophisticated. It called the current
generation of antimissile arms “fragile” and full of “shortcomings that
limit their effectiveness against even modestly improved threats.”

Mr. Obama’s European shift is still a work in progress, and the report
gave it conditional approval provided that the technical advances
planned for the next six years, like improved sensors and interceptor
rockets, actually materialize. But it recommended that the plan’s final
phase — intended to protect the United States from long-range Iranian
missiles — be scrapped in favor of the stronger domestic system.

In short, the panel would undo part of Mr. Obama’s shift and strengthen
Mr. Bush’s antimissile approach, creating more of a hybrid.

The report comes as worries rise over Iran’s nuclear program and fears
take hold that Tehran might one day decide to develop warheads for its
rapidly growing fleet of missiles. Today, Iran’s missiles are short and
medium range. The report looks ahead a decade or more to what it calls
the “likely development” of Iranian missiles designed to rain warheads
down on the United States.

Since the 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan began the modern hunt for
defenses against long-range missiles, Washington has spent more than
$200 billion devising ways to hit incoming enemy warheads that move at
speeds in excess of four miles per second. Critics have long faulted the
goal as delusional, saying that any country smart enough to make
intercontinental ballistic missiles could also make simple
countermeasures sure to foil any defense.

In a nod to critics, the new report identifies enemy countermeasures as
the main challenge for the domestic system, with many of its
recommendations aimed at improving ways to distinguish between decoys
and real warheads.

“For too long, the U.S. has been committed to expensive missile defense
strategies without sufficient consideration of the costs and real
utility,” said L. David Montague, the panel’s co-chairman and a retired
president of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space. The Pentagon must
strengthen its technical analyses, he added, so it “can better evaluate
new initiatives.” Mr. Montague, an engineer by training, is an
independent consultant and one of the few members of the panel whose
roots lie in the defense industry.

It was 2002 when Mr. Bush announced plans to deploy a limited system
designed to protect the United States from missile attacks. Today, the
rudimentary system consists of 30 ground-based interceptors in Alaska
and California. They are designed to zoom into space and destroy enemy
warheads by force of impact.

In September 2009, Mr. Obama switched the focus from protecting the
continental United States to defending Europe and the Middle East from
short- and medium-range Iranian missiles. New intelligence, he said, had
made Tehran’s more modest accomplishments the more pressing threat.

The report called for developing a new generation of interceptor rockets
that would be smaller and more capable, as well as five new radars at
existing early warning sites. The panel said these radars, combined with
sensors aboard the interceptors, would provide more time to identify
enemy warheads and shoot at them repeatedly if the first shots failed.

The East Coast site, the report said, would require 50 of the new
interceptors — 30 for operations and 20 for testing and evaluation.

On Tuesday, a number of experts faulted the new plan. Theodore A.
Postol, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a
prominent antimissile critic, called the calculations behind the
proposed radars “completely wrong and unrealistic.” He continued,
“They’re claiming they can do things that are not physically possible.”

Tom Z. Collina, research director at the Arms Control Association,
a private group in Washington, said the report made clear that the
current domestic interceptors are woefully deficient and that developing
new ones for an East Coast site “might take a decade or more.”

At a news conference Tuesday, Mr. Montague defended the report and said
the large panel had its own skeptics and proponents. “What we’ve agreed
on,” he said, “is what we said in the report.”

Outside critics, he added, tended to overstate the skills of enemies of
the United States seeking to build long-range missiles to develop ways
to foil defenses. People in the aerospace industry who have made
countermeasures for the warheads of United States missiles, Mr. Montague
said, “know it’s not as simple as a PowerPoint chart.”
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  • sickofpolitics 2012/09/15 16:32:20
    Scary stuff, scary times!!!!
  • Arel 2012/09/15 14:38:01
    Obama has made us weak. Our troops are getting killed by those they train on a daily basis and have to have permission to engage when under attack, they are protecting our Embassys with rubber bullets and the Missle Treaty.........what was Obama thinking? Commander and Chief really?
  • flrdsgns Arel 2012/09/15 14:57:44
    Kind of sounds like Iraq, and Viet Nam. I guess the military should just be able to do anything they want regardless of orders or plans.
    Sorry, but you're wrong in your assessment of our military and our strength
  • Arel flrdsgns 2012/09/15 19:13:46
    I am not saying our troops are weak Obama's leadership regarding our military is weak.
  • BlackwinterG36C 2012/09/15 07:55:20
    When has Mr "Incomplete" gotten something right? But but Obama got Osama. Thats ALL he has. And giving the green light isn't much.
  • Ken Blackwi... 2012/09/17 19:22:35
    And right now that one "accompllishment" has turned the Muslim world agalinst him. The crowds attacking our embassies are chanting "Obama, Obama, we all are Osama." That doesn't bode well for his appeasement policy in the Middle East.
  • mwg0735 2012/09/15 06:58:13
  • Ken mwg0735 2012/09/17 19:24:01

    He's planning on it!
  • TheTruth1313 2012/09/15 06:25:57
    Obama doesn't ever make me feel safe. He usually only manages to make me feel sick to my stomach and angry.
  • Denny 2012/09/15 06:25:01
    Well if we have to get hit, Hey bad guys make it between the beltways in Washington. come on do us a favor.
  • nails 2012/09/14 00:47:22
    Only a fool would seek such an empty accomplishment.Tie's lose in every game I ever
  • Temlakos~POTL~PWCM~JLA~☆ 2012/09/12 17:57:44
    That doesn't make me feel safe at all.
  • Kane Fernau 2012/09/12 17:36:10
    Kane Fernau
    Obama wants the US destroyed as we know it and he doesn't care what method is used.
  • Ken Kane Fe... 2012/09/12 17:38:40
    You are right. He wants the United States to be "just another nation" at the international table, with no more power than any other to affect decisions or actions in the world.
  • Kane Fe... Ken 2012/09/12 18:55:37
    Kane Fernau
    That's what all of our enemies want.
  • Morningstar 2012/09/12 17:18:30
    The US has nuclear weapons...
  • Ken Morning... 2012/09/12 17:33:41
    Of course we do, but the issue is missile defense.
  • JMCC 2012/09/12 17:12:04
    Just to show that nothing ever changes...;)

  • Ken JMCC 2012/09/12 17:36:38
    You are right, nothing ever changes on the left-wing!
  • JMCC Ken 2012/09/12 17:41:33
    The point is that everybody was worried about countries such as China, Israel, Pakistan, India and others getting nuclear weapons and was convinced that as soon as they did they would use them. The truth is we are still here.
  • Ken JMCC 2012/09/12 18:07:12
    We are, but never in the past have two rogue nations who show so little concern for their own citizens had access to them. In the case of Iran, you have religious fanatics who feel they can hasten the return of the Twelfth Imam, i.e. judgement day, by a nuclear holocaust, and you also have leaders who publicly state their intent to wipe an entire nation, Israel, off the map. I wouldn't be so confident that these new "players" will react rationally as other leaders with their fingers on the nuclear "button" have in the past.
  • JMCC Ken 2012/09/12 18:09:24
    I disagree, China had that reputation as did Pakistan.
  • Ken JMCC 2012/09/12 20:09:08
    We must agree to disagree then. I never heard of Chinese leaders, even during Mao's era, making any statements that are even nearly equivalent to those coming out of Tehran. What nation did China, or Pakistan for that matter, even threaten to wipe off the face of the map? Also, the Chinese certainly are the furthest thing from the religious zealots you see running the Islamic Republic of Iran.
  • JMCC Ken 2012/09/12 20:21:30
    The rhetoric between Israel and Tehran has been heated on both sides, I believe that they are as guilty as one another on that front.

    I was talking to a Middle East expert who has spent decades working there, and he was saying that before the state of Israel was created, that Muslims, Jews and Christians all got on together,

    He went on to say that those who remember those days of ALL religions miss them - it has to be emphasised that there are many Jews that feel the same way and do not support the position of the government.
  • Ken JMCC 2012/09/12 20:36:15
    "I believe that they are as guilty as one another on that front."

    Just what is the basis for that "belief"? I've never heard Israel assert anything other than its right to exist and its right to protect itself against the overwhelming number of enemies that surround it and want nothing more for it to cease to exist.

    Actually Jews in the region of Palestine were subject to frequent attacks even before the creation of the State of Israel -- that is just the latest excuse.
  • JMCC Ken 2012/09/12 20:52:15
    Certain elements of Israel have been calling for the destruction of Iran ever since the fall of the Shah.

    I was not aware of attacks against Jews under British occupation, could you provide details?
  • Ken JMCC 2012/09/12 22:18:22
    Can you give me a link to an authority for those "certain elements" because I've certainly heard nothing of it, and it has not been Israel's leadership.

    I'm not going to give you a history lesson, but I suggest you read "A History of the Jews" by the eminent British historian Paul Johnson. You will come away with much more insight into the problems that Israel has faced and is facing.
  • JMCC Ken 2012/09/12 22:30:05
    I am not anti-semetic and don't claim to be an expert in the history either, but I am a practical man who realises that peace will not be achieved in the middle east through an act of war.
  • Ken JMCC 2012/09/17 19:25:52 (edited)
    "Of the four wars fought in my life none came about because America was too strong." Ronald Reagan

    I don't believe I accused you of beilng anti-Semitic.
  • JMCC Ken 2012/09/17 19:35:52
    Not at all, I was stating it so that you would understand that I am not one of the many you find on this site...

    The fact that the US could still destroy the entire planet 3-4 times over with just 300 nuclear warheads might indicate that whilst Reagan is right that there might be room to question whether America has gone a bit OTT and has far more than is needed...
  • Ken JMCC 2012/09/17 19:55:42
    For nearly five decades after WWII the policy of Mutually Assured Destruction kept the world safe from a nuclear holocaust -- that is a fact that cannot be argued with. While 300 warheads, if all were used and depending upon their yield, could destroly the planet (I doubt that it would be 3-4 times over), they are deployed over the entire planet, the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, and it is doubtful that 300 would be launched at once, other than in response to an all-out missile attack from another country against the U.S. The fact is that 300 warheads is far fewer than the number required to arm our nuclear deterrent, and it is far fewer than either Russia or China has in its arsenal.
  • JMCC Ken 2012/09/17 19:59:51
    Isn't that the insanity though?

    If you are going to launch there is no point holding back anything for there will be no second salvo. As soon as the 300 are launched (and believe me they are enough to destroy the planet 3-4 times) - what does it matter how many more missiles the enemy has than you?

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