America’s Massive Missile Defense Mistake
by Lt. General Robert Gard and Phil Coyle
On June 22, the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system successfully intercepted and destroyed a target missile in a test over the Pacific Ocean. The Obama administration has said that a successful test would trigger the addition of fourteen more long-range missile defense interceptors to thirty already in silos in Alaska and California—at an estimated cost of more than $1 billion.
This would be a mistake. Here’s why:
There’s an old adage, often applied to government: “Why is there never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over?” This describes the history over the past decade of the GMD system. Ever since 2002, when President Bush called for deployment of the GMD system within two years, there has been a rush to failure, with no time to do it right, and a decade spent doing it over.
Earlier this year, describing the sorry state of affairs with the GMD system, Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer and the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, bluntly stated, “We’ve got to get to more reliable systems.” According to Kendall, a redesign and new development effort is needed. “As we go back and understand the failures we’re having and why we’re having them, we’re seeing a lot of bad engineering, frankly,” Kendall said. “It’s because there was a rush. . .to get something out.”
Over $40 billion dollars has been spent on GMD so far.
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