“Partly we are failing because it is the hardest thing the Pentagon has tried to do,” said Phil Coyle, who served as the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester in the Clinton administration and in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Obama administration. “We’ve had more success with short-range and medium-range systems. But they are going more slowly, they are traveling in the atmosphere. That is different than traveling at 15,000 miles per hour in space. Especially when the enemy is trying to fool you,” such as with countermeasures and decoys.
“Three of the previous four [tests] had failed — that is a 75 percent failure rate,” Coyle said of the system’s recent tests. Even with its most recent success, “two of five is 40 percent. Forty percent is not a passing grade.”