FEASIBILITY: NMD TECHNOLOGY IS SORELY LACKING
TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES GUARANTEE NMD FAILURE
Jack Ruina March 04, 2001, The Washington Post SECTION: OUTLOOK; Pg. B03 HEADLINE: 46 Years, No Winners. Aim Elsewhere //VT2002acsln
From my standpoint, NMD, the sixth in a series of U.S. missile defense programs, is the sixth to fail to meet its goals. This is due to several basic technical difficulties involved in defending against ballistic missile attack. The bomb payload is carried by a "reentry vehicle" that is relatively small (under 1,000 pounds) and moves at great speed (up to 15,000 mph), giving the defense little time to react. An attacker could easily obscure the reentry vehicle and confuse the defense with so-called "penetration aids" -- everything from decoys, such as balloons, to radar jammers. If an attack consisted of only a single reentry vehicle with no penetration aids, the defense's problem would be much simpler; it is indeed possible to "hit a bullet with a bullet," as the task for the defense is often described. But a real attack would almost certainly include some relatively simple penetration aids.
NMD DEPLOYMENT DECISION IS TOO IMPORTANT TO MAKE IN THE ABSENCE OF CLEARLY WORKING TECHNOLOGY
The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY.) February 18, 2000, SECTION: FORUM Pg.10a HEADLINE: EDITORIAL; Playing defense // ACS-LN
And while missile defense is almost an article of faith among congressional Republicans - and GOP presidential candidates - Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, says, ''This may be one of the most serious decisions a president of the United States may make in modern times, and if the technology piece isn't there to look at all of the options, then we have to defer a decision.''
NMD SCHEME IS ILL-THOUGHT OUT AND GEOSTRATEGICALLY DANGEROUS
The Guardian (London) February 6, 2001 SECTION: Guardian Leader Pages, Pg. 19 HEADLINE: Leading article: Flawed defences: Bush's missile plan may explode in his face //VT2002acsln
Much of the proposed technology, especially space weapons, is unproven and in any event, is no defence against one-off terrorist "suitcase" mini-devices. The project is becoming inextricably confused with existing theatre and tactical missile defence systems which, to give one potentially incendiary example, the Taiwanese would like to deploy against China. Nobody, not even the Americans, quite knows how all this will be paid for. Put all these considerations together and the dangerous confusions attending this ill-thought-out scheme are plain.
BESIDES THE MANY IMPROVEMENTS MADE AND TECHNICAL BREAKTHROUGHS, CRITICAL NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE TECH STILL REMAINS TO BE DISCOVERED
PAUL MANN Aviation Week and Space Technology July 5, 1999 ; Pg. 30 HEADLINE: Historic Turn Eyed In Missile Defense // lnu-acs
Rejecting Graham's claims, BMD critics contend that another 20 years will pass before a viable NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE is deployed, because a host of engineering challenges remains to be dealt with. In the past two decades or so, ''there have certainly been improvements in miniaturization, in computing power, in the construction of micro-thrusters and sensor technology -- that's all absolutely true,'' agrees Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment.
''But there are still basic engineering challenges that it is not at all clear we can overcome. The kill sequence [enabling an interceptor to collide physically with a warhead] depends on micro-thrusters that have to perform extremely precisely under high-stress conditions. The bursts have to be controlled at fractions of a second in certain sequences at very high speeds. As velocities increase, it becomes more difficult to perform precise control in the time available.
''Nor has discrimination between warheads and decoys been tested under any kind of realistic conditions,'' Cirincione added. ''The enemy could deploy a dozen balloons with small heaters inside whose thermal signature would be indistinguishable from the warhead's. Detecting differences in mass between warheads and decoys by discriminating between differences in motion, in gyration or rotation, is really hard to do, requiring tremendous long-range sensing capability -- again in very short periods of time. Yes, theoretically, computer speeds could be increased and sensor technology could be made even finer, so that someday you might be able to solve the basic discrimination problem. But how do you ever find a reentry vehicle that itself has been hidden inside a large balloon?''
KEY TECHNICAL PROBLEMS REMAIN WITH NATIONAL DEFENSES.
Council for a Livable World 9-13-99 (DOWNLOAD) Briefing Book on Ballistic Missile Defensehttp://www.clw.org/ef/bmdbook/contents.html // ACS
After more than 40 years, intercepting warheads still remains a major technological hurdle. Recent testing of missile defenses has produced only four successes out of 18 tries -- and these are for systems less capable than that needed for a National Missile Defense. Moreover, The U.S. has never been able to overcome the problem of simple countermeasures that any country building ballistic missiles could develop. Lastly, space-based interceptors and lasers, which might be deployed to destroy missiles early in flight, remain highly vulnerable to simple anti-satellite weapons.
THE MAJOR TECHNICAL BARRIERS TO NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE STILL REMAIN
Editorials; The Atlanta Journal and Constitution July 8, 1999, SECTION: Editorial; Pg. 18A HEADLINE: Missile defense a costly fantasy // lnu-acs
The United States has already spent an estimated $ 56 billion in research on such a system since President Reagan embraced the concept in his "Star Wars" State of the Union speech in 1983. Despite that investment of time, money and scientific expertise, the major problems remain unsolved. We are not even close to developing a system reliable enough to be counted upon.
EARLY DEPLOY DEFIES LOGIC -- TECHNOLOGY ISN'T AVAILABLE YET
Elizabeth Sullivan The Plain Dealer June 14, 1999 SECTION: EDITORIALS & FORUM; Pg. 9B HEADLINE: MISSILE DEFENSE; FLAWED IN; EVERY RESPECT // lnu-acs
It defies logic to schedule a final deployment decision on a system before trying it out.
The first attempt to use a ground-based interceptor to hit a prototype ballistic missile barrelling along at 16,000 mph isn't even scheduled, although it's supposed to happen this summer.
NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE IS TECHNOLOGICALLY AND STRATEGICALLY FLAWED
JESSE LARNER The New York Times May 27, 1999, SECTION: Section A; Page 32; HEADLINE: Flawed Missile Defense // lnu-acs
A missile defense cannot work and would be bad strategy. It cannot work because it would be a system of unprecedented technological complexity that could not be fully tested, short of a live situation. Even if the system worked flawlessly the first time out, it could not protect against cruise missiles or against a nuclear device smuggled into a major city.