Skip to comments.Lost In Space [ Missile Defense Advocacy Abstract ]
Posted on 09/03/2006 3:28:46 PM PDT by Paul Ross
Lost in Space
By Henry F. Cooper and Robert L. Pfaltzgraff Jr.,
The Wall Street Journal, reprinted in Missile Threat.com in toto, August 31, 2006
Consider the implications of North Korea's July 4 missile tests. While the Taepondong-2 failed, Pyongyang has already demonstrated (in 1998) that it can launch long-range rockets. Meanwhile, the six short- and medium-range missiles it successfully tested can be sold to other rogue states and terrorists -- who could launch them at us from ships off our coasts.
When North Korea launched its missiles in July, what President Bush has properly termed our "modest" missile-defense system was activated -- but it included no protection against this short-range threat to the three-quarters of all Americans living within 200 miles of our coasts. Indeed, if a nuclear warhead on just one missile, launched from a ship off our coast, was detonated at an altitude of 100 kilometers, the electromagnetic pulse would have devastating consequences for critical infrastructures such as telecommunications, finance, fuel/energy, transportation, food and water supply, energy resources and space systems.
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The blunt truth is that, since withdrawing from the ABM Treaty in 2002, the U.S. has not done enough to protect the nation from the threat of missiles. The Pentagon is improving ground-based interceptor systems, but it is not fully exploiting other interceptor-basing modes. Sea-based defenses, for example, remain focused on defending our overseas troops, allies and friends against short- and medium-range ballistic missileswithout using their inherent potential also to shoot down ballistic missiles aimed at the U.S. homeland.
Nevertheless, our continuing vulnerability to missile attack is the result of easily reversible past choices. Japan and the U.S., for example, are jointly developing sea-based missile defenses against short- and medium-range missiles; three U.S. ships equipped to shoot down these missiles will be operating in or near the Sea of Japan later this year. With a $25 million software improvement, these same ships can shoot down North Korean intercontinental-range missiles early in their ascent phaselong before ground-based interceptors in Alaska or California. And if ships operating near our coasts are similarly equipped, they could shoot down short- and medium-range missiles launched by terrorists from ships off our coasts.
We have already made an $80 billion investment in over 80 Aegis ships now at sea around the world that have the ability to shoot down cruise missiles. A minimal additional investment can enable them to shoot down ballistic missiles: Outfitting a single ship costs $100 million ($20 million for support systems and $80 million for eight interceptors). There is no better investment in near-term missile-defense capability.
As the administration has acknowledged, current missile defenses represent only a starting point for building improved capabilities. But rather than just marginally improving systems that evolved from the ABM Treaty era, missile-defense designers should start from the basics.
The authors participated in an Independent Working Group that for the last five years considered these issues in depth. Our full report, Missile Defense, the Space Relationship and the 21st Century, is available at www.ifpa.org/pdf/IWGreport.pdf1. Here, we emphasize several points:
Political factors have dictated technical behavior, subordinating the development of the most technically sound and cost-effective defenses. The problem transcends administrations and political parties; it reflects the unprecedented political opposition that has been mounted against effective missile defenses over the past five decades. The most technologically feasible global defensespace-basedhas not been politically acceptable, because of concerns about the weaponization of space. This is a dubious argument that ignores history, and the current efforts of other states to weaponize space. But the result is to leave us with a ground-based defense that is politically the most acceptable but technologically the least effective.
Missile-defense systems should protect us against more than just small rogue states. We should make it virtually impossible for any adversaryrogue states, non-state actors and larger strategic competitorsto influence U.S. decisions, or the course of regional conflicts, by threatening to launch missiles with nuclear weapons against the U.S., its deployed forces or its allies.
Since we cannot be certain where or when a missile will be launched against us, we need a continuously ready, global, multilayered system to provide multiple shots at attacking missiles and their warheads in all their phases of flightboost, midcourse and terminal. Such defenses make an attack more expensive, and therefore less attractive for enemies to buy the technologies to overcome them. The ABM Treaty era showed that it is the absence of defenses, rather than their presence, that encourages the development of offensive technologies.
Ground-based defenses can protect specific territory; sea-based defenses can more flexibly defend larger areas for less money. Neither provides global protection. Only space-based systems can provide a truly global defense. The U.S. needs a streamlined development program to build space-based interceptors for boost-, midcourse- and terminal-phase interdictionand to begin deployment of these interceptors by 2010.
Because of Ronald Reagans interest in research on all ballistic missile-defense concepts, his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) explored all possible concepts and pursued major technology initiatives, in order to underwrite those most effective. By the end of his administration, it was clear that a space-based interceptor system, Brilliant Pebbles, could meet even the strict so-called Nitze criteria (survivability under direct attack and cost-effectiveness at the margin as compared to investments in attacking missiles).
This interceptor system consisted of a constellation of very lightweight satellites (each about the size of a watermelon) that would continuously monitor the Earth below and detect any missile launch within its field of view. The satellite with the best intercept opportunity would release a Brilliant Pebble (weighing a few pounds) that maneuvers into the path of the oncoming missile or its payload and destroys it by impact. All key technologies were proven by the mid-1990s; todays technology is more advanced and could intercept even short-range Scuds in their boost phase.
Brilliant Pebbles was approved in 1990; the Pentagons independent costing agency estimated acquisition and 20-year operations costs at $11 billion in 1990 dollars, or about $16 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars. It would have been far more capable than all other missile-defense concepts pursued since thenat many times that costbut political considerations killed Brilliant Pebbles in 1993. Even the supporting technology programs were cancelled and the technologists dispersedso those most important products from the $30-billion SDI investment were lost.
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Today the U.S. should make deployment of a multilayered missile defense, including space-based systems, an urgent priority. We should complete the ground-based sites in Alaska and Californiabut build no additional ground-based sites. Limited resources are better spent to meet emerging threats by building the more cost-effective (sea- and space-based) missile components.
Great advances in technology have resulted when visionary and persistent leaders, supported by competent scientists and engineers and set apart from the normal acquisition bureaucracy, are given the necessary resources to prove new ideas can and will work. This recipe should again be employed to revive cutting-edge technologies demonstrated over a decade agoand to build the defenses we need in the 21st century.
Mr. Cooper, former director of the SDI and chief U.S. negotiator to the Geneva Space and Defense Talks, is chairman of High Frontier, a missile defense advocacy group. Mr. Pfaltzgraff is president of the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of International Security Studies at the Fletcher School at Tufts University.
Deployment of a multi-layered missile defense, including space-based systems, should be an urgent U.S. priority, argues Ambassador Henry F. Cooper and Dr. Robert Pfaltzgraff, in the August 28 edition of The Wall Street Journal. Dr. Pfaltzgraff is president of the Institute of Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA) and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of International Security Studies at Tufts University. Ambassador Cooper was the former director of the Strategic Defense Initiative and chief U.S. negotiator to the Geneva Space and Defense Talks, and is currently chairman of High Frontier, a missile defense advocacy group. Both participated in the Independent Working Group, which recently released the report Missile Defense, the Space Relationship and the 21st Century.
The authors write: We should make it virtually impossible for any adversaryrogue states, non-state actors and larger strategic competitorsto influence U.S. decisions, or the course of regional conflicts, by threatening to launch missiles with nuclear weapons against the U.S., its deployed forces or its allies.
The U.S. needs a continuously ready, global, multilayered system to provide multiple shots at attacking missiles and their warheads in all their phases of flight. Such defenses would make a missile attack against the U.S. an expensive endeavor, and therefore less attractive for enemies to buy the technologies to overcome them.
The ABM Treaty era showed that it is the absence of defenses, rather than their presence, that encourages the development of offensive technologies. To accomplish this, the U.S. should complete the ground-based sites in Alaska and California but build no additional ground-based sites. Limited resources would be better spent deploying more effective sea- and space-based missile defense components.
The U.S. has already invested $80 billion in over 80 Aegis-equipped warships armed with Standard Missile-3 interceptors, which provide an effective defense against cruise missiles. An additional investment of $100 million per ship, they write, would enable these flexible platforms to shoot down ballistic missiles, and thus provide an effective near-term defense capability. For a long-term global defense, the U.S. should invest in space-based systems that can intercept ballistic missiles in all phases of flight. T
he technology already exists in the form of Brilliant Pebbles, a space-based system developed during the Reagan and first Bush administrations but never completed. Brilliant Pebbles consists of a constellation of lightweight satellites that would release watermelon-sized interceptors into the path of the oncoming missiles and destroy them by impact. Cooper and Pfaltzgraff point out that all key technologies for Brilliant Pebbles were proven by the mid-1990s, and that the more advanced technology of today would provide such a system with even greater capabilities.
Great idea. Now go convince Congress to pay for it.
Speaking of "headless aliens" Rush had a comment, relating to the Canadian movie about Bush getting assassinated, wondering how the left would react to a movie about Bill Clinton getting his head chopped off.
"No more head for Bill Clinton."
MN Johnnie: You nailed it. Amb Cooper always wants more and I love him. We have what we have: which was still hugely expensive. Asking for more at this point is a non starter.
There are stll many benefits of the system in place (and growing).
"Bubble Headed Boobie".
Real leadership would put it in the budget and go head to head and see what we will see. Instead, we don't have such leadership. Nor are we realizing any "savings" from the current approach.
Actually, the current approach is frittering the money away...with no serious deployments. We could have had 22 NMD-dedicated Aegis cruisers for full-time picket duty today right now...and with fixed SM-3 interceptors, btw. [The 21 inch diameter upper stage instead of the Xlinton-prescribed 16 inch ]
All for less than we have spent on the GBI, Ground Based Interceptor program in the last 5 years.
Brilliant Pebbles, with a full complement of over a thousand interceptor launcher satellites would have been only about $9 billion back in the the day, 1992. Dithering is what is costly. Look at how the liberals dramatically inflated the cost of the F-22 while refusing to deploy it.
Just after the posted article was published...
US Missile Defense System Intercepts Rocket in Test
September 2, 2006 | DAVID S. CLOUD
Prove it...Show Me the Money!
We have what we have: which was still hugely expensive.
That expense is playing to the critics. There is a managerial approach that fixes that. Its called "gitting 'r done". A Deployment of known reliable inexpensive components. Above all other priorities.
Asking for more at this point is a non starter.
Guess we know who is pussy-whipped. Anyways, fortunately, if the IWG is correct, we Don't really need significantly more. Just need a free hand, less interference, micro-managing and political sabotage.
As for more being a non-starter...that under Ronal Reagan would have been the occasion for some serious Presidential attacks in the open against the obstructionist. And that should be the case today, if that certain someone was truly serious about deployments. I'm not so sure he is...
I.e., The killing of TBMD. The killing of BP-II. The killing of the Aegis SM-3 Flight-IIa fix. The killing of THEL. And no, these are not merely examples of "the best" (which is sometimes used as a pretext) being the Enemy of the Good Enough. Often no alternative programs at all were funded when the programs were killed. So I don't buy that anymore...at all...since all the decisions uniformly keep us from really being defended against the 360-degree threat. Which is the real threat. No enemy is going to want to make it easy for us to fingerprint the author of their attacks.
Conclusion: W's deployments are simply not very serious or credible looking to me. They have to be less so to real enemies.
This undeniable core political failure at the top makes for serious rethinking of W's real agenda: The old maxim applies:
"Once is Happenstance. Twice is Coincidence. The third time it's Enemy action"Another freeper when appraised of the openly adverse facts surmised, gee, then "maybe there is some kind of major Black Programs that we just don't know about."
We could always hope for that, but as you must know, such a capability, so long as it's kept a secret from our enemies (hence us as well), would never constitute effective deterrence. And by all accounts within the industry, "it ain't 'a happen'n McGee!"
Main consequence of this is the disqualification of the author of the article from further comment on anything.
Let me point you to the example of the Sprint, part of the old Safeguard ABM system. An utterly amazing system, the Sprint, was tested within the span of five years...about fifty times. 75% kill rate. PK=.75
To say Sprint was a phenomenal missile, is putting it mildly. A cone shaped missile that accelerated at 100g, achieved a speed of Mach 10 in 5 seconds, had an ablative coating to dissipate the heat that was generated from the fiction from the atmosphere and was so accurate that the radar had to be de-tuned during testing so that it would not hit incoming RVs. It was a phenomenal missile.
Compare that with either the GBI or the Aegis testing schedules we have had. Ever since W made his mysterious unpublished "political" promises to Pooty-Poot pursuant the Strategic Framework Agreement attached to the START Treaty of Moscow of '02...the foot-dragging has been undeniable. Consider also the pathetic number of interceptor missiles (arrows in the quiver) deployed for either GBI or Aegis systems.
Then consider further the ongoing "train-wreck" collapse of the US Navy by W, from 344 ships in January 2001 to 281 ships today...and his openly seeking to prematurely retire the early AEGIS ships...(with lame build-rates all heading to an meager 180-ship navy) calls the committment and intentions of the Administration into question.
Conclusion: Lucy...You Got Some 'Splain'n to Do!!!
Huh? Where does this notion come from?
Have you seen the EMP Commission findings? Are they "disqualified" too? Here is a summary that is more or less mild:
Our Nation at Risk:
The Threat of EMPby Chuck Missler
An electromagnetic pulse (EMP), triggered by a high-altitude detonation of a nuclear weapon, poses a considerable threat to our national security and is one of a small number of weapons that could be used to bring the whole of America to its knees. An EMP attack would strike what has become the United States' Achilles heel - its relatively unprotected, yet vital, technological infrastructure.
An electromagnetic pulse is generated when a nuclear weapon is detonated above the earth's surface (at altitudes between 40-400 km). In such instances, the nuclear blast would interact with the Earth's atmosphere, ionosphere, and magnetic field to produce an EMP. In addition to the direct effects of the blast, the EMP would impact electrical systems across a wide geographical area. The amount of damage depends primarily on the altitude of the blast and the size of the nuclear warhead.
Our growing dependence upon computers and other electrical systems has made us especially vulnerable to an electromagnetic pulse attack.
An EMP could cripple the U.S. by knocking out electrical power, telecommunications and transportation, along with banking and financial networks. The loss of power would also limit our access to fuel and emergency services, as well as food and water supplies. Systems could be down for weeks, months, or even years. It would be as if the United States slipped back into the 19th century - before the advent of cell phones, computers, microwaves and many of the other modern conveniences on which we now depend.
It has been nearly a year since the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack released its findings. Its assessment was largely overshadowed by the report of the 9/11 commission, and thus did not garner much attention from the mainstream media. Dr. Lowell L. Wood, acting chairman of the commission, described the nature of an EMP attack:
"...electromagnetic pulses propagate from the burst point of the nuclear weapon to the line of sight on the Earth's horizon, potentially covering a vast geographic region...simultaneously, at the speed of light. For example, a nuclear weapon detonated at an altitude of 400 kilometers over the central United States would cover, with its primary electromagnetic pulse, the entire continent of the United States and parts of Canada and Mexico."
Senator Jon Kyl, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security, wrote the following about the EMP threat in the April 15 edition of the Washington Post:
An electromagnetic pulse attack on the American homeland is one of only a few ways that the United States could be defeated by its enemies - terrorist or otherwise. And it is probably the easiest. A single Scud missile, carrying a single nuclear weapon, detonated at the appropriate altitude, would interact with the Earth's atmosphere, producing an electromagnetic pulse radiating down to the surface at the speed of light. Depending on the location and size of the blast, the effect would be to knock out already stressed power grids and other electrical systems across much or even all of the continental United States, for months if not years.
Few if any people would die right away. But the loss of power would have a cascading effect on all aspects of U.S. society. Communication would be largely impossible. Lack of refrigeration would leave food rotting in warehouses, exacerbated by a lack of transportation as those vehicles still working simply ran out of gas (which is pumped with electricity). The inability to sanitize and distribute water would quickly threaten public health, not to mention the safety of anyone in the path of the inevitable fires, which would rage unchecked. And as we have seen in areas of natural and other disasters, such circumstances often result in a fairly rapid breakdown of social order.
The existence of the electromagnetic pulse has been known since the 1940s, when nuclear weapons were being developed and tested. However, because of a lack of data, the effects of an EMP were not fully known until 1962. At this time, the United States was conducting a series of high-altitude atmospheric tests, code named "Operation Fishbowl," in the Pacific Proving Ground. On July 9, 1962, a test known as "Starfish Prime" was conducted near Johnston Island at an altitude of about 400 kilometers. This 1.4 megaton bomb caused an EMP that disrupted radio stations, destroyed street lights, shut down automobiles and wreaked havoc on electrical equipment throughout the Hawaiian Islands, some 1,400 kilometers away from the site of the blast!
The explosion even disrupted radio equipment as far away as Australia (the cause of the malfunctions was kept quiet). Consequently, in 1963, the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Atmospheric Test Ban Treaty to counter the considerable threat posed by EMPs.
Researchers concluded that the electrical disturbances caused by Starfish Prime were the result of something known as the Compton Effect, theorized by physicist Arthur Compton in 1925. (Compton's assertion was that photons of electromagnetic energy could knock loose electrons from atoms with low atomic numbers.)
Photons from the nuclear blast's intense gamma radiation knocked a large number of electrons free from oxygen and nitrogen atoms in the atmosphere. This flood of electrons interacted with the Earth's magnetic field to create a fluctuating electric current, which induced a powerful magnetic field. The resulting electromagnetic pulse induced intense electrical currents in conductive materials over a wide area.
I recently had a discussion with Dr. William Graham, who is regarded as one of the most senior analysts within the "strategic community." He highlighted that an EMP device over the Midwest could disable the electric and electronic services to over 70% of the population.Non-Nuclear EMP Weapons
It is important to note that an EMP of a lesser magnitude can be generated without the use of a nuclear weapon. The United States most likely has various non-nuclear EMP weapons or "e-bombs" in its arsenal, but it is not clear in what form. If they do indeed exist, they are still classified. However, we do know that much of the United States' EMP research is conducted at a laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico and involves high-power microwaves. According to a study done for the Australian Air Force, the most likely way of creating weaponized high-powered microwaves is through a device known as a vircator.
Because the source of the energy is a compact explosive, a vircator could fit inside bombs or cruise missiles. Deployed, they could disrupt a variety of enemy systems, from missile targeting and launch electronics to command-and-control systems. It is possible that they could penetrate hundreds of meters below the ground and reach underground bunkers. Larger, reusable weapons are also being developed for use on ships to disable incoming missiles such as China's Silkworm.
An Imminent Threat
Both China and Russia are capable of executing an EMP attack. Furthermore, we know that both nations have considered the use of an EMP as part of a strategy to defeat the United States in battle. Russia in particular has a sophisticated understanding of EMP. During the test era, the Soviet Union did high-altitude atmospheric tests over its own territory, impacting civilian infrastructures. In May 1999, during the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia, high-ranking members of the Russian Duma alluded to a Russian EMP attack that could paralyze the United States.
However, according to some experts, the more imminent threat to the U.S. is not Russia or China, but rogue states such as Iran and North Korea - and their terrorist allies. CIA Director Porter Goss recently testified before Congress about nuclear material missing from storage sites in Russia that may have found its way into terrorist hands, and FBI Director Robert Mueller has confirmed intelligence that suggests al Qaida is trying to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction. An EMP would have adverse effects on a larger geographical area and could be more easily orchestrated than a targeted nuclear attack on an American city. For this and other reasons, terrorists and rogue nations that possess relatively unsophisticated missiles armed with nuclear weapons may find an EMP to be the most effective means of assault.
Terrorists planning to launch a nuclear weapon over American soil may sound like the plot of a Hollywood movie, but this isn't science fiction. The threat of an EMP attack is very real.
Thomas C. Schelling, an economist and professor of foreign affairs, national security, nuclear strategy and arms control at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, once wrote that we have "a tendency in our planning to confuse the unfamiliar with the improbable. The contingency we have not considered looks strange; what looks strange is therefore improbable; what seems improbable need not be considered seriously."
Those words were written in regards to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In that instance, American forces were taken by surprise and the result was catastrophic. Have we learned from our mistake or is history destined to repeat itself? Will we once again be taken by surprise by our adversaries? To some, an electromagnetic pulse may seem strange or even improbable, but we would be foolish not to take it seriously.
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Is this a consensus opinion among us conservatives?
Frankly, it isn't with me. I want to fulfill the promise of strategic defense. Now. It is within reach. And any congress critters, liberal, or OMB bean-counters or FoggyBottom turncoats...or "promises promises" W [whose promises to Putin means more evidently than to us] ...which says "no"...can get out of my way...or get run over.
It is time to get very very much in all of their faces. Do we have any courage of our convictions, or not?
We need to make this a political steam-roller, on the order of the national rejection of Illegal Alien Amnesty
A national litmus test vote issue for '06 as well.
As things stand, I'd drop the raptor for more SDI money in a heartbeat, as well as massive production of backup control equipment, electronic vehicle ignitions, etc, maintained in properly shielded storage, particularly motor starters and electrical grid controls. An emphasis upon distributed power generation, particularly using small nukes would be a terrific way to improve national EMP survivability.
Only with the New York Times readership, from what I have seen...and that has declined drastically even in New York... Check it out: The polling in favor of real NMD is quite overwhelmingly favorable. Even in New York!. If we can make it there (70% approve it) then we can make it everywhere...
And indeed...we are. Check out the MDAA [Missile Defense Advocacy Assn's] listing of national and state polling data.
The American People have spoken on the issue of missile defense.
Topline Results (PDF)
Crosstab Results (PDF)
Public's View (PDF)
National Poll Results (PDF)
Views of the American Public (PDF)
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