Philip Coyle is skeptical the ground-base missile defense system can reliably do the job.
“I’m not very confident. Not very confident at all,” Coyle said.
Coyle is a former assistant defense secretary who was in charge of operational testing and evaluation at the Pentagon. He’s now a senior fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Looking at the tests since the start of 2010, Coyle said the success rate of the system that’s housed at Fort Greely system is only 40 percent.
“Meaning … out of 10 tries, it would miss six of those,” Coyle said.
Coyle agrees with Sullivan that the U.S. would aim multiple interceptors at a single missile. But, he said the strategy hasn’t been tested, and the enemy missile would only be in space for so long.
“You basically run out of time,” Coyle said.
Coyle said he’s not entirely familiar with Sullivan’s bill. Parts of it aim to advance the technology, and Coyle said they may be good. But he cautions against building more of the same defensive missiles we already have.
“The problem with building more and more interceptors, especially if they don’t work very well to start with, is we just encourage the enemy to build more and more offensive missiles to attack us so that they can overwhelm our defenses,” Coyle said. “So you get the enemy building more and more missiles, which is exactly the opposite of what we would want.”