Jump to content
Clubplanet Nightlife Community
Sign in to follow this  

US to Deploy Missile Defense

Recommended Posts

U.S. to deploy missile defense

System to be in operation on limited basis by 2004


WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 — President Bush said Tuesday he has decided to begin deploying a limited system to defend the nation against ballistic missiles, its first components operable by 2004. Though the first parts of the system will be put into use while more advanced technology is still being developed, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said it will likely stop “a relatively small number of incoming ballistic missiles, which is better than nothing.”

AS A CANDIDATE, Bush promised to build an anti-missile shield, and earlier this year he pulled out of an anti-ballistic missile treaty to advance the plan.

Erecting such a defense shield is the Pentagon’s single most expensive development program, likely to cost hundreds of billions of dollars over coming decades.

“When I came to office, I made a commitment to transform America’s national security strategy and defense capabilities to meet the threats of the 21st century,” Bush said in a prepared statement. “Today I am pleased to announce we will take another important step in countering these threats by beginning to field missile defense capabilities to protect the United States as well as our friends and allies.”

He called the initial stage “modest,” but said, “These capabilities will add to America’s security and serve as a starting point for improved and expanded capabilities later as further progress is made in researching and developing missile defense technologies and in light of changes in the threat.”

The plan calls for 10 ground-based interceptor missiles at Fort Greely, Alaska, by 2004 and an additional 10 interceptors by 2005 or 2006, defense officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Asked at a Pentagon press conference how he could be confident in fielding a system considering some recent failures in testing, Rumsfeld said, “most things don’t just arrive fully developed.”

“The way to think about the missile defense program is that ... it will evolve over time.”

Rumsfeld used as an example the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle, the spy plane that became a big asset in the war in Afghanistan although it was still in testing. The Predator allowed troops to gather intelligence without endangering pilots and ones fitted with missiles allowed the CIA to carry out attacks without endangering their agents.

The Washington Times first reported the plan in Tuesday’s editions.

Bush’s announcement came six days after the latest test of the system failed when an interceptor rocket did not separate from its booster rocket and destroy a Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile as planned.

Three of eight tests of the ground-based system since 1999 have been judged failures by the military.

Once U.S. withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty became official last summer, the Pentagon moved quickly to start work at Fort Greely — 100 miles southeast of Fairbanks — on six underground silos for missile interceptors.

The treaty had barred such construction by either the United States or Russia. Bush gave Russia six-months notice of the withdrawal in December 2001.

The initial Bush plan is more limited than the Strategic Defense Initiative envisioned by President Reagan in 1983 that came to be known as “Star Wars.”

Still, Bush expanded the program significantly from the ground-based plan pursued by President Clinton by also ordering research and testing on sea-based and space-based systems.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said in an October speech that “moving forward on missile defense, particularly by taking advantage of new technological opportunities, is an essential part of a strategy to provide the range of capabilities necessary to defend against the broad spectrum of new threats and challenges that we will confront in the 21st century.”


The Pentagon has begun conducting tests with short-range missile-defense systems that were prohibited by the ABM Treaty and has built and tested mobile and sea-based sensors to track missiles.

“Our missile-defense program since 2001 has demonstrated that missile technology, in particular hit-to-kill technology, actually works,” Wolfowitz said in his October speech. “We actually can hit a bullet with a bullet.”

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the missile defense timing had nothing to do with North Korea’s recent admission that it had a secret program to enrich uranium to make nuclear weapons. But, he noted, Bush cited North Korea as a threat when he promised during his campaign to build an anti-missile safety net.

“Throughout my administration, I have made clear that the United States will take every necessary measure to protect our citizens against what is perhaps the greatest danger of all - the catastrophic harm that may result from hostile states or terrorist groups armed with weapons of mass destruction, and the means to deliver them,” Bush said in his statement.

The United States has asked to use a radar complex in northern England as part of a global missile defense shield, the British government said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Downing Street office said the government had made no decision on the written request to use the Royal Air Force base at Fylingdales in North Yorkshire.

American officials also plan to work closely with Denmark and Greenland, Fleischer said.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this