Skip to comments.Six Scuds and a Dud - Why Should We Care?
Posted on 07/21/2006 9:27:38 AM PDT by Paul Ross
High Frontier Strategic Issues Policy Brief July 14, 2006
Six Scuds and a Dud Why should we care?
By Henry F. Cooper 1 (Stanton Coalition Presentation)
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume referred to North Koreas intrusion on our July 4 celebration with their launch of Six Scuds and a Dud, and implied this was not a particularly significant event. I beg to differ.
The Dud Problem
First, the dud, their failed test of a Taepodong-2, involved a three stage rocket presumably intended to deliver a modern nuclear weapon to Hawaii, Alaska or the Northwestern continental United States. And if more likely, when fully developed, it will be able to deliver a lighter weapon of mass destruction (a chemical or biological weapon) to attack most U.S. cities. We should not take great comfort that this test failed. After all, North Korea already demonstrated its ability to stage its rockets remember August 31, 1998 and the 3-stage Taepodong-1 that caught the intelligence community by surprise?
It also failed to achieve its objective putting a light weight satellite in low earth orbit, but it succeeded in over-flying Japan and spreading its debris almost to U.S. territory. Had it succeeded in orbiting that satellite, it could have also de-orbited it to strike any U.S. city, potentially with a chemical or biological weapon. Did the North Koreans understand and fix what went wrong with this test six years ago?
Sometimes one learns more from failure than success. After all, it has been four years since we had a successful intercept test of the defensive interceptor system that is supposed to shoot down long-range North Korean missiles (2 of the past 3 tests did not achieve a successful launch) and the administration alleges to have confidence in it. So why take great comfort in the fact that North Korea still has work to do in successfully developing and demonstrating its ability to attack U.S. with its long-range missiles?
The Scud Problem
Regarding the Scuds which were 6-out-of-6 on July 4, are we to be relaxed because we think they threaten only Japan, South Korea, other neighbors of North Korea and our nearby troops?
In fact, achieving 6-out-of-6 was a great marketing demonstration for a major North Korean cash crop. It is well known that North Korea sells these rockets and they have a great many to anyone with cash, including terrorists. And they can be launched from ships e.g., a few hundred miles off our coasts. Terrorists could take their pick of cities within 200 miles of our coasts where live two-thirds of all Americans live.
Dont take my word consider that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld pointed out in a September 16, 2002, Pentagon press conference:
Countries have placed ballistic missiles in ships dime a dozen all over the world. At any given time, theres any number off our coasts coming, going. On transporter-erector-launchers, they simply erect it, fire off a ballistic missile, put it down, cover it up. Their radar signatures not any different than 50 others in close proximity.
This threat was also pointed out in the 1998 Rumsfeld Commissions unanimous bipartisan assessment of the ballistic missile threat. And we have been told that capability has been demonstrated so this is not a hypothetical possibility.
It shouldnt take Tom Clancy to imagine scenarios in which terrorists buy several such missiles, arm them with weapons of mass destruction, put them to sea, and launch them at several cities, making September 11, 2001 look like ants at a picnic by comparison. So, clearly we should care about Six Scuds and a Dud! And clearly we should have doubts about the prospects of diplomacy doing much more than delaying this threat.
Without question, we need effective defenses to protect America against both long and short range ballistic missiles and we need them now!
What to Do Quickly!
The ground-based defenses in Alaska and California are intended to intercept a North Korean ballistic missile. But Americans near our coasts have no defense against terrorist Scuds that could be launched by nearby ships a fact that can be rectified rapidly by employing proven sea-based interceptors aboard Navy cruisers and destroyers that operate near our coasts.
The Navy is 8-out-of-9 in its testing over the past four years and is already beginning to deploy a missile defense capability on 3 cruisers and 13 destroyers in the Pacific (where all testing currently is conducted with operational crews in ever increasingly complex test configurations), primarily to defend Japan, other allies and our troops near North Korea.
Some of these ships might be diverted in a crisis to defend our west coast. And the Navy had planned to provide by 2007 this same capability to 2 destroyers in the Atlantic, which could have provided some defense for our east coast, but that plan was delayed by Missile Defense Agency officials in favor of funding other programs delaying for several years efforts that could protect Americans who live within 200 miles of our east coast.
These programs should be accelerated and supplemented. Operations should be adapted to extend the capabilities of the Pacific Test Range in helping protect Americans who live near the West Coast from Scuds on ships in the Pacific. And more ships in the Atlantic should be outfitted with the SM-3 and tested in an East Coast Test Range to help protect those who live along the Eastern Seaboard against Scuds on ships in the Atlantic. Modest Costs First, for $100 million, a significant number of 100 already existing SM-2 Block IV air defense interceptors, one of which was successfully tested against a short-range missile on May 24, can be modified and begin operating on ships that are already near our coasts within a year after program authorization and funding.
Second, we should accelerate and expand current plans to equip our warships with much more capable SM-3 interceptors as part of our joint program with Japan. Japan is purchasing this same capability for their Aegis equipped warships and joining with the US to improve the SM-3 to fly faster and farther to defend wider areas than the already formidable current Aegis SM-3 abilities. Given normal Navy rotational cycles, a third to half of our ships are available at a moments notice for use at any given time. More could be made available in a crisis or higher state of alert.
Third, we should accelerate outfitting currently planned and additional ships with the SM-3 capability for about $100M per ship $20M for the gear and $80M for 8 SM-3 missiles. So, 10 more Aegis ballistic missile defense capable ships, each armed with SM-3 missiles as well as their normal load out of other missiles would cost $1B. These capabilities should be tested in both the Pacific and Atlantic in ways that build the infrastructure for protecting Americans within 200 miles of our coasts against Scuds on ships.
Finally, the Navy should be funded to make the SM-3 interceptor all it can be as quickly as possible preferably managed by a Spartan, competent technical team in the Aegis Program Office. Key improvements would be to: 1) demonstrate confidence in an ascent phase intercept capability, so that the SM-3 system on ships in the Sea of Japan can shoot down missiles from North Korea that are headed toward US cities; 2) include light-weight technology in miniaturizing the kill vehicle carried by the SM-3, thereby increasing its capability to defend a greater area; and 3) accelerating the development of subsequent block improvements to the current SM-3.
These significant improvements are quite affordable they would involve increasing the current Navy missile defense effort from about $1 billion a year to less than $2 billion a year. In considering the meaning of Six Scuds and a Dud, this investment is responsive to obvious requirements illustrated by the events of July 4. Indeed, there are no better 'bargains" in purchasing needed missile defense capability quickly.
1 Cooper was Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) during the Bush-41 administration and Ronald Reagans Ambassador and Chief Negotiator to the Geneva Defense and Space Talks with the former Soviet Union.
We can take some comfort in that they can't do it right now. That gives us some breathing room to clean up the mess in aisle ME before we bring our assets to bear on this little problem.
I take comfort in the fact that this little stunt pissed off the Chinese.
How do we know that for a fact? North Korea's rocket technology along with most of thei nuclear technology were all a gift from China...and China keeps North Korea from collapsing economically and militarily.
North Korea, with its mad-dog bellicosity is demonstrably Red China's Sock Puppet, and they are playing us for saps with a rather unconvincing portrayal of "Bad Cop, Good Cop".
I know he said that. These Foggy Bottom button-downs have been lied to, fooled, flummoxed, gulled, hood-winked, baffled, bullied, misled, deceived, etc. by China since Mao took over...and smiled through it all and would have accepted it as Gospel Writ.
Time for some spine to call the bluff of this little dramatic play for duping our diplomats again.
An Ultimatum and a Litmus Test: Either they and Russia stop running interference at the Security Council for their favorite Rogue States...or they can kiss their "Free Trade" with the West good bye.
And then let's just start shooting down their toys.
Agreed, but only if we actually start cleaning up that mess. We need to fulfill the Gipper's great hope:
About the one-time cost of building a barrier on the southern border.
Didn't Tommy Franks or was it General Pace estimate that the U.S. spends more money on Pizza than it does on national defense?
Were you the poster warning us that Arabs might us airplanes as bombs five years ago?
Got to stop with this conspiracy nonsense :>)
Eventually, IMHO, Kim-Jong Ill-in-the-Head will get too big for his britches, so to speak, and piss off the Chicoms just enough that he will have outlived his usefullness. NK gives the Chicoms a thorn in our side that allows them to hold some useful purpose in theater thereby keeping us from really damaging their economy with sanctions. We should have sanctioned them after the missle tests near Taiwan but we "needed" their pressure on NK in the negotiations (which I don't think work anyway). One good sign is Japan. There is now the desire within the government as well as the general population to begin building their defense capabilities again. India is another chip in our favor but I don't know enough about the India scene to comment on the details. China, to their credit, learned from the Japanese how to hogtie us economically--look at the debt ratio. They will posture, as they always do, but we have troops to their south, a friend in India, whose nuclear and Japan who is beginning to be more of a potential military ally. Not to mention all of the assets we still have in the So. Pacific.
The Independent Work Group on Missile Defense also takes it quite seriously.
What was interesting to me is that we still, almost six years later don't seem to be taking that most easily-implemented of all threats very seriously. I know Rumsfeld has only just authorized the initiation of program studies to protect the mainland from seaborne threats...by the year 2012 or so...
Ironically, the standard of being actively prepared, rather than waiting for surprise, was enunciated in a speech made by President Bush pertaining to the general subject, without getting terribly specific:
And, as a matter of common sense and self-defense, America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed. We cannot defend America and our friends by hoping for the best. So we must be prepared to defeat our enemies plans, using the best intelligence and proceeding with deliberation. History will judge harshly those who saw this coming danger but failed to act. In the new world we have entered, the only path to peace and security is the path of action.
- President George W. Bush The National Security Strategy of the United States of America September 17, 2002
"In addition, countries have placed ballistic missiles in ships -- cargo ships, commercial ships, dime a dozen -- all over the world. Any given time, there's any number off our coast, coming, going, on transporter-erector-launchers, and they simply erect it, fire off a ballistic missile, put it down, cover it up. Their radar signature's not any different than other 50 others in close proximity. So your comment that they don't have the ability to deliver a ballistic missile to this country is flat wrong."
Here is the animation of that scenario with an attack on Hollywood...note AirForce One is also wiped out in the attack the video depicts...Click here
I would hope Rumsfeld etc get on this quicker than 2012. Seems a bit long, but then I'm no expert. Thanks for posting this. Important thread.
Exactly, and with a bit more practice, I'm afraid North Korea will have it right. I agree with the author that we need effective defenses to protect America, and we need them now.
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