Senior Science Fellow Philip Coyle spoke with the Toronto Star to fact-check President Trump’s claims about missile defense.
Claim: “We make the greatest missiles. We have the anti-missile missiles that shoot down missiles many, many miles away in the sky, like a needle in a haystack. They shoot them down, hard to believe. And we’re surrounding our country with them, by the way, if you don’t mind. Remember what other countries said? ‘We don’t want you to put defensive mishes (sic) and missiles in your country.’ You don’t want us to put — explain that to me, please. Remember? They used to get angry when we would put defensive missiles, anti-missile missiles in our country. And so we wouldn’t do it.”
In fact: Experts told the Star that it is false that the U.S. has previously abandoned missile defense systems because other countries have gotten angry and objected. “The answer is no. Of course, Russia has objected to U.S. missile defenses, especially those deployed and planned to be deployed near Russia’s borders, but that has not stopped the U.S. from building such systems,” said Philip Coyle, Senior Science Fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and a longtime former senior defense official who served as, among several other things, Assistant Secretary of Defense and Director, Operational Test and Evaluation from 1994 to 2001. …
in fact: Experts told the Star that it is false that Trump is “surrounding our country” with missile defense systems. Philip Coyle, senior science fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and a longtime former senior defense official who served as, among several other things, Assistant Secretary of Defense and Director, Operational Test and Evaluation from 1994 to 2001, said the U.S. has a “poor” ground-based missile defense system based in Fort Greely, Alaska, “with a few more interceptor missiles at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.” He added that the U.S. also has missile defense systems in Japan, South Korea, and Romania, and on U.S. Navy ships at sea — but this does not qualify as “surrounding our country.” Read more