Monday, November 07, 2005

Defending the Missile Defense Program

Exactly what is the status of the missile defense program the US is building today? At conferences and Congressional hearings, officials from the Missile Defense Agency say the ground-based interceptors in place in Alaska and California right now can potentially provide "limited protection" -- not against a barrage of intercontinental missiles, but at least against a single missile that a "rogue nation" like North Korea might someday be able to launch, though its missiles do not currently have the ability to reach the US, experts say.

Critics of the US ballistic missile defense program say the lack of realistic testing of the program's various components, not to mention any integrated testing of the various components, belie statements that the system could have limited effectiveness. Without realistic testing, they say, the value of the system as it is today is unknown. Arms Control Today in its November issue has an excellent interview with MDA director Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, who gets a chance to respond to critics. Does he offer an effective defense for ballistic missile defense? Readers can judge for themselves...

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