Don't Move Missile Defense to the Sea, Send it to the Dump

Posted on 21. Sep, 2009 by in Uncategorized

Conservatives criticized plans to drop plans for a European missile defense shield. They say it’s a capitulation to Russia during a time when we can ill-afford to look weak in the eyes of this potential adversary.

But Obama’s plan to move sensors from Poland into the ocean and space doesn’t go far enough. This Cold War era fantasy ought to be scrapped in its entirety.

One reason conservatives are rankled is that the plan was a pet project of Ronald Reagan, who dreamed of outer space lasers and exploding satellites being used to stop a rain of the Evil Empire nukes.

Star Wars changed over the years. Every president since took a stab at it. But missile defense never happened because it was never viable.

The basic technical challenges of missile interception were never mastered – twenty years and hundreds of billions of dollars in development never brought us closer then being able to shoot down missiles in carefully scripted tests.

But there was always a more fundamental flaw in the concept of missile defense that made a functioning system a near impossibility. An adversary who wanted to get past a future system would always have the advantage. That’s because no matter how many missiles such a system could knock down (right now we can’t even hit one if we aren’t the ones launching it) an adversary can always send more decoys missiles. And this is not an economy that can be changed – it is always cheaper to make decoys than it is to build additional missile defense capacity.

If we could somehow block 10 simultaneous missiles an adversary could simply send 20 decoys. So the system never had the potential to protect us. Which is one reason that military brass were never really inspired by the program and eventually came out against missile defense.

It was good to see Obama sidelining a program that only pissed off potential adversaries rather than actually protecting us from them. But moving the program to the oceans and space is still a waste – lets stop tilting at windmills and dump this foolish legacy program.

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