US missile defense system unreliable: Study

July 16, 2016 6:34 am

A Ground-Based Interceptor loaded into a silo at Fort Greely, Alaska.

The missile defense system
designed to defend American cities and towns against a limited nuclear
attack is ineffective and “unable to protect the US public,” according
to a new report.

The Ground-based Midcourse Defense
system (GMD, which is projected to cost $40 billion by 2017, is “in
tatters” after years of neglect, according to a 60-page report by the
Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
The report says that the
rocket interceptors, based in California and Alaska, have not been able
to destroy most mock enemy missiles during heavily-scripted tests.
Nearly
15 years after the George W. Bush administration began deploying the
system, it has not been demonstrated to work under real-world conditions
and will remain ineffective unless Congress exerts rigorous oversight,
the report said.
“The missile defense system is one of the most
expensive and complex military systems in history, yet it is the only
major defense program not subject to standard ‘fly before you buy’
performance standards,” said UCS Senior Scientist Laura Grego, the
report’s lead author.
“Fifteen years of this misguided, hands-off approach has resulted in a costly system that won’t protect the homeland.”
The GMD system is intended to thwart a “limited” nuclear strike by a non-superpower adversary, such as North Korea.
“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.
Officials at the
US Defense Department have also made “unsubstantiated claims about the
system’s effectiveness,” the report says, calling this “both cynical and
a disservice to the public.’’
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