U.S. Would Benefit From Fixing the Problems With Missile Defense
By Lt. General Robert Gard and Philip Coyle
In his recent commentary, David Trachtenberg called for more diversity in America’s missile defense systems and claimed that the current U.S. missile defense program “is but a shadow of the robust program needed to protect the nation.”
In fact, under President Barack Obama, missile defense is much more diverse and extensive than it was under President George W. Bush. The Obama administration has sustained the Ground-based Midcourse Defense System in Alaska, and it’s working to add 14 more interceptors there, even though the performance of those interceptors gets worse and worse each time they are tested, when it ought to be getting better.
The administration ought to replace those interceptors instead of building more of the bad ones. Moreover, it makes little sense, especially at a time of constrained defense budgets, to continue to invest in a failed system that doesn’t work and ought to be scrapped, as recommended last year by the National Academy of Sciences.
In 2009, the Obama administration also established the Phased Adaptive Approach in Europe, a much more diverse and extensive missile defense program than the Bush administration’s proposal for Europe. Where the Bush proposal included just one radar and one interceptor site in Europe, the Obama Phased Adaptive Approach includes radars in several locations and interceptors based on land as well as at sea.
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