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U.S. missile defense system is 'simply unable to protect the public,' report says

Posted By: RumorMail
Date: Friday, 15-Jul-2016 17:50:55

The system designed to defend American cities and towns against a nuclear attack by North Korea is "simply unable to protect the U.S. public" and will remain ineffective unless Congress exerts rigorous oversight, according to a new report.

The report, to be released Thursday by the Union of Concerned Scientists, recommends that the Obama administration halt the expansion of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, known as GMD, until its technical problems have been solved.

"The story of this system is a cautionary tale about how the lack of appropriate oversight of a politically charged missile defense program has led to a system in tatters," said the report, written by three physicists with expertise in missile defense.

"Despite more than a decade of development and a bill of $40 billion, the GMD system is simply unable to protect the U.S. public,'' the authors wrote.

The GMD system is intended to thwart a "limited" nuclear strike by a non-superpower adversary, such as North Korea or Iran.

In the event of an attack, rocket interceptors at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County and Ft. Greely, Alaska, would be launched from underground silos. Once in space, the interceptors would separate from their booster rockets and attempt to slam into and "kill" enemy warheads.

A test of America's homeland missile defense system found a problem. Why did the Pentagon call it a success?

A test of America's homeland missile defense system found a problem. Why did the Pentagon call it a success?

The report notes that in "heavily scripted" flight tests that are "set up for success," GMD interceptors have often failed to hit mock enemy warheads. In the seven most recent tests, interceptors destroyed their targets just three times, the report says -- a finding consistent with conclusions of the Pentagon's operational test and evaluation office.

Personnel conducting the tests know the speed, location and trajectory of the target ahead of time, as well as when it will be launched – information they would not have in a real attack.

The report relies extensively on articles published over the last two years by the Los Angeles Times, along with a National Academy of Sciences report and the findings of federal auditors and the Pentagon test office.

The report said members of Congress and Pentagon officials insisted on deploying and expanding the system at a rapid pace—at the expense of sound procurement and engineering.
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