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Posts Tagged ‘missile defense’

Comments on the Ground-Based Midcourse Missile Defense Test Record

The Department of Defense states that Sunday’s test was the 65th successful hit-to-kill intercept out of 81 tries since 2001 for the Ballistic Missile Defense System. This statistic includes not only the Ground Based Midcourse (GMD) missile defense system tested this weekend, but all ranges of interceptors, including the Patriot system which targets short range missiles.

Only 17 of those tests have been of the GMD system. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) will state the GMD record as 9 successes out of 17 tests, which includes tests of interceptors that were prototypes and those with both the CE-I and CE-II kill vehicles. The Pentagon also claims “four intercepts using the operationally configured interceptor since 2006.” Read More

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Missile Defense Test Hits Target, But Not Off the Hook Yet

The Pentagon announced that the Ground Based Midcourse (GMD) test FTG-06b on Sunday was successful. Read More

Categories: Missiles and Missile Defense  

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Upcoming Missile Defense Test: Success or Failure, Time to get Serious

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has scheduled a long-delayed, $200-million missile defense test for this Sunday, June 22. It is just shy of a year since the last failed test of the problem-plagued Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) anti-missile system. Read More

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UCS-Brookings Panel on Missile Defense

The Union of Concerned Scientists co-hosted a panel on missile defense with the Brookings Institution last week: “U.S. Missile Defense Developments: How Far? How Fast?Read More

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Missile Defense: The “Phantom Menace” Remains a Phantom Menace

The history of the debate over missile defense is full of miscalculations about its possible benefits versus its risks and costs.

Probably much of that is due to the fact that strategic missile defense always sounds better after 30 seconds than it does after 30 minutes. Read More

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Missile Defense Oversight: Pulling the Punches

At the March 25 House Armed Services Committee hearing on missile defense, Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH) took a dig at what he seems to think is an unwarranted criticism of the proposed East Coast missile defense site. (He’s a strong proponent of building a new site.) He asked Vice Admiral Syring, the director of the Missile Defense Agency, what the “banter” that there is “no validated military requirement” for the East Coast site means. Read More

Categories: Missiles and Missile Defense  

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National Missile Defense—More Isn’t Always Better

Recently, the Pentagon announced that four of five sites that had been identified as candidates for a possible new missile defense site would be moving on to the next step and getting Environmental Impact Statements (EIS)– Camp Ravenna, Ohio; Fort Custer, Michigan;  Fort Drum, New York; and  Portsmouth SERE Training Area, near Rangeley, Maine.  Read More

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A Victory for Common Sense on Missile Defense

The final defense authorization bill that passed the Senate late last night includes none of $140 million sought by the House to begin deployment of a new missile defense site that its supporters claim will better defend the eastern United States. The House demanded the Pentagon build a new site by 2018 and authorized $140 million to get started, though the Pentagon hasn’t even made a decision that a new site is desirable. This final outcome is very good news; if you’re just tuning in now, a new site on the East Coast is a poor use of resources and would improve neither the effectiveness nor the reliability of the Ground Based Midcourse (GMD) missile defense system. Read More

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Missile Defense Doesn’t Seem to Work for Job Creation, Either

For a host of reasons, building a new “East Coast” missile defense site is a poor use of resources, with even the Missile Defense Agency saying it would use any additional funds for something else. The price tag for building and operating a new site for five years would be about $3.6 billion, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Read More

Categories: Missiles and Missile Defense  

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Problems with an East Coast Missile Defense Site

For the second year, missile defense supporters in the House of Representatives are seeking funding to build a new site for the U.S. Ground Based Midcourse (GMD) missile defense system. The aim is to place interceptors at a site near the east coast, in addition to the current sites in Alaska and California, to engage a potential future missile attack from Iran.

We just posted a short background paper that explains the problems with this plan. These include:

  • the Pentagon has not asked for this money, nor has it made a decision that a new deployment site is desirable
  • the Pentagon continues to struggle to get the basic GMD technology to work reliably, so it makes little sense to deploy it at another site
  • even if these technical problems are surmounted, the system available now and in foreseeable future can at best only counter a rudimentary missile threat, one that is not accompanied by decoys and other countermeasures. Interceptors from Alaska could engage these missiles so an east coast site would not be needed.
  • against this rudimentary threat, an east coast site would not improve effectiveness, but at most would improve efficiency, allowing the United States to potentially fire fewer interceptors at an incoming missile
  • a new site would cost an estimated $3.6 billion to build and operate over the first five years, which makes little sense in the current budget-constrained environment.

 

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