View Full Version : U.S. Makes Missile Defense System Operational

06-20-2006, 12:14 PM
US makes missile defense system operational


Tue Jun 20, 2006 10:00 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Amid concerns over an expected North Korean missile launch, the United States has moved its ground-based interceptor missile defense system from test mode to operational, a U.S. defense official said on Tuesday.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed a Washington Times report that the Pentagon has activated the system, which has been in the developmental stage for years.

"It's good to be ready," the official said.

U.S. officials say evidence such as satellite pictures suggests Pyongyang may have finished fueling a Taepodong-2 missile, which some experts said could reach as far as Alaska.

"There's real caution in how to characterize it so as to not be provocative in our own approach," the defense official said of the move to activate the system.

06-20-2006, 03:01 PM
It looks like a rather expensive (welfare) project, somewhere between 30 and 60 billion dollars or more.

Of course, the burning question is will it even work?


Published on Thursday, May 11, 2000 in the Boston Globe (http://www.globe.com/globe)

Missile Defense System Won't Work

by David Wright and Theodore Postol


The United States is on the verge of deploying a national missile defense system intended to shoot down long-range missiles. The Clinton administration is scheduled to decide this fall whether to give the green light to a system that is expected to cost more than $60 billion, sour relations with Russia and China, and block deep cuts in nuclear arsenals.

But the real scandal is that the defense being developed won't work - and few in Washington seem to know or care.

The chief difficulty in trying to develop missile defenses is not getting vast systems of complex hardware to work as intended - although that is a daunting task. The key problem is that the defense has to work against an enemy who is trying to foil the system. what's worse, the attacker can do so with technology much simpler than the technology needed for the defense system. This inherent asymmetry means the attacker has the advantage despite the technological edge the United States has over a potential attacker such as North Korea.

(three obvious methods to foil the missile defense system)

A country that decided to deliver biological weapons by ballistic missile could divide the lethal agent into 100 or more small bombs, known as ''bomblets,'' as a way of dispersing the agent over the target. This would also overwhelm the defense, which couldn't shoot at so many warheads.

An attacker launching missiles with nuclear weapons would have other options. It could disguise the warhead by enclosing it in an aluminum-coated Mylar balloon and releasing it with a large number of empty balloons. None of the missile defense sensors could tell which balloon held the warhead, and again the defense could not shoot at all of them.

Alternately, we showed that the warhead could be enclosed in a thin shroud cooled with liquid nitrogen - a common laboratory material - so it would be invisible to the heat-seeking interceptors the defense will use.


This situation is similar to a group of people deciding to build a bridge to the moon. Instead of assessing the feasibility of the full project before moving forward, they decide to start building the onramps, since that's the part they know how to do.

The reality is that any country that is capable of building a long-range missile and has the motivation to launch it against the United States would also have the capability and motivation to build effective countermeasures to the planned defense. To assume otherwise is to base defense planning on wishful thinking.

David Wright is a researcher at the Union of Concerned Scientists and the MIT Security Program. Theodore Postol is professor of science, technology, and national security at MIT. Both are physicists.

© Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.

06-20-2006, 03:55 PM
It looks like a rather expensive (welfare) project, somewhere between 30 and 60 billion dollars or more.

Of course, the burning question is will it even work?

Wether it's welfair or not, it looks like we may need it in case N Korea gets any funny ideas. (could be media propaganda making N Korea look like a threat but who knows)

06-20-2006, 05:19 PM
it in case N Korea gets any funny ideas.

It looks to me more like a destabilization of the nuclear standoff between China, Russia, and the USA.

All this for a "show" of force that might not even work in a real world situation, and has sucked up significant resources that no doubt has brought many other worthwhile projects to a grinding halt.

Yeah, right. Like North Korea is really going to bomb the USA. The odds seem rather small. This has nothing to do with North Korea, would be my hunch.