Problems with current U.S. policy.Since 9/11/01, President Bush has been painting a picture of "unprecedented threats" to the U.S., highlighting the threat of a hostile state or terrorist group armed with weapons of mass destruction Weapons that are capable of a high order of destruction and/or of being used in such a manner as to destroy large numbers of people. Weapons of mass destruction can be high explosives or nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological weapons, but exclude the means of transporting or and the means to deliver them. However, Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States. has pointed out that "there are fewer nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons in the world and fewer nations pursuing these weapons than there were ten, fifteen, or twenty years TWENTY YEARS. The lapse of twenty years raises a presumption of certain facts, and after such a time, the party against whom the presumption has been raised, will be required to prove a negative to establish his rights.
2. ago." Even the December 2001 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE NIE Newspapers in Education
NIE National Intelligence Estimate (US government)
NIE Newspaper In Education
NIE National Institute of Education (various countries) ) disagrees with Bush's claims. The NIE noted that "U.S. territory is more likely to be attacked" with weapons of mass destruction by countries or terrorist groups using "ships, trucks, airplanes, or other means" than by anyone using a long-range ballistic missile. Such delivery systems are less expensive than those needed for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and, unlike missiles, nonmissile systems can be covertly developed and employed in an attempt to evade retaliation. They can also be deployed in ways that will evade ballistic missile defenses, rendering the costly investments in these systems irrelevant.
Beyond the issue of whether or not the threat warrants an elaborate, though partial missile defense system Noun 1. missile defense system - naval weaponry providing a defense system
missile defence system
naval weaponry - weaponry for warships is the fact that the proposed system has yet to show that it can effectively defend the U.S. against a ballistic missile attack. As former Pentagon testing official Philip Coyle has repeatedly pointed out, "There is nothing that the DOD (1) (Dial On Demand) A feature that allows a device to automatically dial a telephone number. For example, an ISDN router with dial on demand will automatically dial up the ISP when it senses IP traffic destined for the Internet. has done that is as difficult."
In eight highly scripted tests, the ground-based system, which is most developed and the backbone of the Bush administration's scheme, has failed three times. Compare that to Nixon's Safeguard system, which underwent 111 tests, including 58 successful target intercepts in 70 attempts. And the few successful intercept tests of the Bush system are marred by how simple and predictable the variables were compared to the uncertainties of a real ballistic missile attack. Furthermore, all the tests to date--successful and unsuccessful--used a beacon inside the mock warhead, which helps guide the intercept missile to the target. Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish, director of the Missile Defense Agency, was adamant in saying that the data from the beacon does not assist the interceptor in the final targeting of the kill vehicle. But it certainly makes the job a lot easier.
A report from the Union of Concerned Scientists The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is a nonprofit advocacy group based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. The UCS membership includes many private citizens in addition to professional scientists. shows that although the target and interceptor start out 5,000 miles away from each other, a transponder A receiver/transmitter on a communications satellite. It receives a microwave signal from earth (uplink), amplifies it and retransmits it back to earth at a different frequency (downlink). A satellite has several transponders. guides the interceptor to within 400 meters of the warhead. Pentagon officials claim that the transponder has to be used, because existing Pacific radars are located in less-than-ideal places for testing. Maybe this is part of any weapons testing program--you've got to walk before you can run--but the Bush administration wants to deploy them before they've even taken a step. Defense contractor Raytheon won a $350 million contract to develop the X-band radar; however, it won't be ready for testing until 2005, after the Bush administration has deployed the system.
The Pentagon's own director of test and evaluation, Thomas Christie, noted in his annual report that "due to the stage of development and the following testing limitations, the GMD (company) GMD - Full name: "GMD - Forschungszentrum Informationstechnik GmbH" (German National Research Center for Information Technology).
Before April 1995, GMD stood for "Gesellschaft für Mathematik und Datenverarbeitung" - National Research Center for Computer Science, [ground-based mid-course missile defense] element has yet to demonstrate significant operational capability." Elaborating to the Senate Armed Services Committee The term Armed Services Committee could refer to:
One obvious "solution" to test failures is to cancel the tests, and that's exactly what the Bush administration has sought to do. The Pentagon has cancelled three of five intercept tests of the ground-based system that were scheduled before the 2004 deployment date. The president's 2004 budget included language that would have formally waived the system from testing requirements; fortunately, the language was removed. As Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) said, "That law exists to prevent the production and fielding of a weapons system that doesn't work right."
Following the president's deployment announcement, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) got to the heart of the matter: "The president's decision to deploy an untested national missile defense National Missile Defense (NMD) as a generic term is a military strategy and associated systems to shield an entire country against incoming Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). The missiles could be intercepted by other missiles, or possibly by lasers. system has more to do with politics than effective military strategy." What else would explain the rush to deploy and get something in the ground by October 2004, conveniently right before the elections?
More than any administration in history, the Bush team has relied on the expertise of former weapons contractors to outline U.S. defense needs. Thirty-two Bush appointees are former executives, consultants, or major shareholders of top weapons contractors, including appointees with ties to major missile defense contractors Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman. At a time when corporate scandals are making headlines, the Bush administration's reliance on individuals with ties to the arms industry to fill major posts in the national security bureaucracy deserves far greater scrutiny than it has received to date.
In addition to the dozens of former weapons executives in the Bush administration, personnel from conservative, corporate-backed think tanks, such as the Center for Security Policy, the Project for a New American Century, and the American Enterprise Institute The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) is a conservative think tank, founded in 1943. According to the institute its mission "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism — limited government, , are now ensconced en·sconce
tr.v. en·sconced, en·sconc·ing, en·sconc·es
1. To settle (oneself) securely or comfortably: She ensconced herself in an armchair.
2. in key policymaking pol·i·cy·mak·ing or pol·i·cy-mak·ing
High-level development of policy, especially official government policy.
Of, relating to, or involving the making of high-level policy: posts. Their fingerprints can be seen on virtually every major element of the Bush national security strategy, from the doctrines of preemptive strikes and regime change in Iraq, to the administration's aggressive nuclear posture and commitment to deploying a Star Wars-style missile defense system.
* The threats that a missile defense system is meant to address have been greatly exaggerated.
* The Bush administration is rushing to deploy a missile defense system before it has been sufficiently tested.
* The resurgence of Star Wars has been politically driven, spurred on by the missile defense lobby, which is thoroughly entrenched en·trench also in·trench
v. en·trenched, en·trench·ing, en·trench·es
1. To provide with a trench, especially for the purpose of fortifying or defending.
2. in the Bush administration.