|12-31-2004, 10:59 AM||#1|
Angling in the Deep
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Texas Riviera, Southern Mountains
Pentagon Misses Goal for Missile Defense System
Again, this is a sham! This system will not work. Some of the brightest minds in the world have commented on it but the cash cow must continue at everyone's expense.
By Will Dunham
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon (news - web sites) failed to meet its goal of declaring a missile defense system operational in 2004 and critics said failures in testing the ambitious system show it simply does not work.
The latest test of the multibillion-dollar system ended in failure on Dec. 15 when one of the interceptors intended to destroy an incoming enemy ballistic missile failed to launch on cue from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific.
Four of the system's nine major tests have been failures, and the five successes have been achieved under tightly controlled conditions.
Meanwhile, key components are absent, including a high-resolution, high-power, sea-based radar and two big satellite constellations.
President Bush (news - web sites) said two years ago he wanted the system up and running by September 2004. The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency later said the intention was to make it operational by the end of 2004. Now Missile Defense Agency spokesman Rick Lehner says there is no firm timetable for activating it.
Creation of a missile defense system has been a goal of many U.S. conservatives dating back to a space-based plan developed under President Ronald Reagan (news - web sites) two decades ago. Bush touted his version during his re-election campaign.
The current approach, to shield America and its allies from missile attack by nations like North Korea (news - web sites), is based on the concept of using one missile to shoot down another before it can reach its target.
"What we have here is a developmental system that is well along," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told a recent briefing. "And at some point soon, it will have a modest capability" and can be "perfected and improved" over time.
Proponents argue even a rudimentary missile defense capability is better than none at all. But the latest failure presented another hurdle to the Pentagon's idea of deploying the system piece by piece rather than waiting for every element to be fully developed.
"The system has no demonstrated capability to work under realistic conditions. And so unless they just want it to be a sham, I don't see how they can declare that they have real operational capability," said Philip Coyle, chief weapons tester for the Pentagon from 1994 to 2001.
At the current testing pace, it could be decades before the system is ready, Coyle said.