THE DREAMS AND THE REALITY
compiled by Dee Finney
|"What if free people could live secure in the knowledge ...
that we could intercept and destroy strategic ballistic missiles
before they reached our own soil...? "
14 July, 2001: Greenpeace activists protest Star Wars test
|DREAM OF STAR WARS - 8-15-2002 - DREAM - I was making a web
page about Star Wars with a
white background. The only name mentioned on the page was 'Hans Solo"
(symbolically - 'solo' means 'alone')
This is not a picture from your kid's sci-fi comic. It's an illustration
from a report by Defense Secretary
MICHELLE'S DREAM OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS DISCUSSION
DREAM - I was seeing a closeup of two pairs of hands, while two men were
sitting at a conference table.
They started talking about the possibility that if Iraq sent a biological
or dhenical weapon into Israel, they
The Jewish man said, "But he hasn't done that, and if he did do that, it would kill half our people."
The man with the southern accent said, "A biological or chemical attack
could be done in a ''controlled' way",
The Jewish man then said, "But what nuclear weapons?", like he didn't
know what nuclear weapons would
The man with the southern accent said, "With these!" and threw him a set of keys.
Israel May Nuke Iraq
Israel thinks Iraq is preparing to launch a missile attack at any time.
"Israel should be prepared to face an
Israel's National Security Council has also warned the government to expect
"mega-terror" attacks by
Some of the possible scenarios include suicide airplane crashes of the
kind that occurred in New York and
War in the name of religion and occult beliefs is nothing new. Learn about
what inspired Hitler to try and
|Active Measures: The Strange Death Of James Forrestal And The Majestic
On July 26, 1947, Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal learned from President
|STAR WARS & REACTORS IN SPACE: A CANADIAN VIEW
Written in 1986 by Michael Bein
It has been eight years since the Soviet nuclear- powered spy satellite
Cosmos 954 crashed in northern
Though NASA envisions many uses for the new reactors -- from rocket propulsion
to baseload power for
The disintegration of Cosmos 954 over the Northwest Territories on Jan.
24, 1978, thrust the issue of
For the first several weeks the story assumed dramatic proportions, as
nightly newscasts pictured the
The 1980s began with the failure of a 46-cent computer chip causing the
NORAD headquarters to
On July 25, 1980, President Carter signed Presidential Directive
59, which called for flexible, controlled
The United Nations held its second Special Session on Disarmament
in June 1982. One million people
|The Eisenhower Institutes Future of Space convened a blue-ribbon
panel of experts who have
served as directors of national space agencies and managed major space operations to produce a
politically viable and technically feasible regulatory framework that seeks to delineate between those
military uses of outer space necessary for national defense and international security and those which
could be detrimental for global stability.
|The goal of The Eisenhower Institute's Future of Space project is
to find a clear definition of the legal
status of space, facilitate a consensus on the acceptable extent of military operations there, and draft
a legal framework to manage its future use. We have begun a dialogue between a multinational group
of esteemed space scientists and a broad range of stakeholders, including representatives from industry
and the US military, as well as various other international constituencies. By bringing these groups
together, we are attempting to paint a comprehensive picture of the many dimensions of space use and
to codify this vision into an enduring regulatory framework that is in line with contemporary realities
and future political and technological contingencies. It is our hope that this framework will provide a
stable foundation for the ever-growing role that space has come to play in our lives.
www.eisenhowerinstitute.org/Future-of-Space/ (no longer available)
As nuclear test ban treaties were negotiated in the late 1950s, President
Eisenhower's science advisors
The project was code-named Vela and although an aura of secrecy has grown
about it, Klebasabel said
The first spacecraft was launched in October 1963 and carried six gamma
ray detectors along with
After Vela 4 was launched, Klebasabel said he felt the need to test the
This was a horrendous task compared to the automated data analyses now
performed on desktop
"We had not progressed very deeply into the book when we found, much to
my surprise, events
It was now mid-1969, and in data from July 2, 1967, Klebasabel found a
spike in the data, a dip,
"One thing that was immediately apparent was that this was not a response
to a clandestine
Luck intervened when the detectors aboard the Vela 5 satellite were
"Rather rapidly we found a number of events," he said. With the timing
between Vela 5 and 6
That he was looking at a cosmic phenomenon was not obvious.
"It developed slowly and only became apparent by the time we developed
the capability to get the
The U.S. thinks it can be as the motto of the Air Force Space Command terms it "Master of Space."
It appears as a Space Command uniform patch and is in three-foot high
letters over the entrance
Working closely with the U.S. military in achieving this goal are major
The "Long Range Plan" goes on to list those 75 corporations beginning
with Aerojet and going
President Dwight Eisenhower warned in his "farewell address" in 1959
of the influence of a
STAR WARS - THE NEXT GENERATION
New Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will be President Bush's point man for selling Congress, US allies, and skeptics in Russia and China on a national ballistic missile defense -- a highly dubious system which will cost taxpayers billions and could reignite the nuclear arms race.
William D. Hartung
and Michelle Ciarrocca
Jan. 31, 2001
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will shepherd Star Wars II.
When President Bush tapped Donald Rumsfeld for defense secretary, he signaled his intention to assign this well-seasoned Pentagon veteran the task of selling missile defense to Congress and US allies. Although his proposed plan appears to be similar to Ronald Reagan's original Star Wars vision, Bush has yet to reveal any specifics except that it should be able to "protect all 50 states and our friends and allies and deployed forces overseas."
Given the serious technical, cost, and arms-control problems plaguing the proposed national missile defense system, Rumsfeld faces no small task.
Technically speaking, there's nothing to sell just yet. The system has failed two of its three intercept tests. Regardless of whether it succeeds in its next one this spring, serious questions remain about the system's ability to defend against real-world threats in which an attack would be accompanied by countermeasures and decoys.
Cost estimates for the limited NMD system currently being tested range from $60 billion to $120 billion. A full-scale missile defense "triad" consisting of sea-, space-, and ground-based interceptors -- the system Bush and his Republican colleagues are advocating -- could cost $240 billion or more.
Even if the NMD system can be made to work on the military/technical level without breaking the budget, a hasty decision to deploy NMD poses grave risks to global stability.
Deployment could derail Russian President Vladimir Putin's offer to reduce US and Russian nuclear arsenals to 1,000 strategic warheads each, and would almost certainly provoke new nuclear weapons production by Russia and China. As the government's top intelligence analyst on missile proliferation suggested last summer, deployment of an NMD system would set off "an unsettling series of political and military ripple effects ... that would include a sharp buildup of strategic and medium-range nuclear missiles by China, India, and Pakistan and the further spread of military technology in the Middle East."
Clearly, Rumsfeld has his work cut out for him. But he's just the man for the job. His close involvement with conservative think tanks and missile defense contractors allies him with the lobby that has promoted missile defense for decades.
Despite Rumsfeld's reputation as a moderate Republican, when it comes to national security issues such as missile defense and nuclear-arms control, he is an ideologue in moderate's clothing.
Rumsfeld's most-praised recent work was his key role in leading the congressional panel charged with assessing the ballistic missile threat facing the United States. The 1998 report asserted that, within five years of deciding to do so, a rogue state such as North Korea or Iran could acquire a ballistic missile capable of reaching the US. Previous CIA estimates had placed the timetable at 10 or 15 years. The report painted the ultimate worst-case scenario, ignoring all of the real-world obstacles Third World countries face in trying to obtain a long-range ballistic missile capability, and playing up any factors, however remote, that might increase their chances of getting usable ballistic missiles in a shorter time frame.
Though the report did not explicitly advocate missile defense, it gave Star Wars boosters in Congress the quasi-official endorsement they needed to push the program forward. Sen. Jon Kyl, an Arizona Republican and anti-arms control hardliner, asserts that "The Rumsfeld Report was the main reason the debate was gradually turned around and the administration turned around."
But the missile threat facing the United States has been exaggerated, to say the least.
North Korea, the main impetus behind the current push for an NMD system, has agreed to a moratorium of new missile tests, has begun rapprochement with South Korea, and has expressed willingness to limit its nuclear and ballistic missile programs as part of an agreement with the United States.
As US intelligence analyst Robert Walpole pointed out in testimony before Congress, a ballistic missile is the least likely way a foreign nation would choose to deliver a weapon of mass destruction to US territory, because ballistic missiles have a "return address" that would allow swift and devastating American retaliation.
Beyond the unrealistic threat assessment, few remarked at the time that Rumsfeld, the panel's chair, was far from an objective analyst on this subject, given his parallel role as a card-carrying member of the missile defense lobby.
Rumsfeld is listed as an "informal adviser and faithful supporter" of the Center for Security Policy in its annual report. The Center, founded and directed by former Reagan Pentagon official Frank Gaffney, is a highly partisan advocacy organization that serves as the de facto center of the Star Wars lobby. Its 100-member advisory board is a virtual Star Wars hall of fame, including such luminaries as original Star Warriors Edward Teller and former Reagan science adviser George Keyworth.
The board also includes heads of like-minded, right-wing foundations such as William J. Bennett of Empower America and Henry Cooper of High Frontier. Rounding out the board are almost two dozen former and current members of Congress, retired military and defense officials, and six defense industry CEOs from Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The Center receives roughly 20 percent of its annual revenues from corporate sponsors, including generous contributions from top missile defense corporations.
Rumsfeld was awarded the Center for Security Policy's Keeper of the Flame award in 1998 at a gala dinner attended by retired military officers, conservative political and foundation leaders, and representatives of missile defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin. Past recipients of the award include Sen. Kyl, Ronald Reagan, and Newt Gingrich.
Rumsfeld also serves on the board of Empower America (along with Bennett, former Defense Secretary William Cohen, Jack Kemp, and Jeanne Kirkpatrick), which ran misleading, pro-Star Wars radio ads against incumbent Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in the 1998 congressional elections, just a few months after Rumsfeld's allegedly non-partisan analysis of the Third World missile threat was released.
The work of Rumsfeld and his associates has been backed up and supported every step of the way by the arms industry. During the past decade, the major weapons makers have made generous campaign contributions to key members of Congress and invested tens of millions of dollars in their already formidable Washington lobbying operations. Since 1997, the top four missile defense contractors have doled out more than $4 million in PAC contributions and almost $3 million in soft money. But this lavish giving pales in comparison with what these firms spend on lobbying each year: an estimated $18 million.
Rumsfeld's appointment is great news for the motley collection of weapons makers and conservative ideologues who make up the Star Wars lobby. But unless he distances himself from the rigid views of his cohorts and makes a truly objective assessment of the ballistic missile threat to our nation, he could end up spending tens of billions of our tax dollars on a costly, unproven, and provocative missile defense initiative that could spark a new nuclear arms race.
William D. Hartung and Michelle Ciarrocca are the President's Fellow and Senior Research Associate, respectively, at the World Policy Institute at New School University. This article has also appeared in the Baltimore Sun.
Star Wars, Part II: Wait a Minute, Man
BMD, but without the D
Oct. 5, 1999
Last Saturday night, I was walking to a comedy gig here in L.A., hardly aware of my surroundings. Instead, my brain was full of trivial worries about new material I wanted to try and how what's left of my hair looked and who was gonna be in the audience and crap like that.
You forget in the course of your daily life that there are weapons of mass destruction in the world.
And suddenly, I was stopped cold by the sight of something truly out of the ordinary. (Which, in West Hollywood, is saying something.)
A whole chunk of the northwestern sky was suddenly filled with what looked like an enormous jet contrail. I stared in disbelief, trying to figure out what I was seeing. Other people around me stopped and stared, too. And as night began to fall, the plume dispersed into bizarre shapes, lit in rainbow colors by the setting sun.
It was fascinating and strange and beautiful. And a little disturbing.
Enough so that dozens of people called the police, asking if they were seeing a prelude to war, some weird secret technology, or possibly even the beginning of Armageddon.
What it looked like to me was the scene in "The Day After," when the people of Kansas are shocked to see the missiles actually being launched. Turns out I wasn't far off.
What we were all watching was the launch of a refurbished Minuteman II missile (made by Lockheed Martin), outfitted with both a dummy warhead and a decoy, from nearby Vandenberg Air Force Base.
The Pentagon says that 3000 miles away, a prototype missile defense system -- the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (manufactured by Raytheon), mounted on another refurbished Minuteman II and launched from the Marshall Islands -- eventually destroyed the dummy warhead.
What this all is supposed to mean: the world is therefore now a little safer for democracy, and so we taxpayers should pony up another $28 billion to keep the project alive.
Maybe so. But over the years, expectations for success in such tests have become so low that the original mission of such weapons has been abandoned entirely, and the Pentagon openly admits that even a failure would have been called a success, if the reason for the failure were merely known.
Welcome to Star Wars, part II.
On March 23, 1983, Ronald Reagan announced the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), a satellite-based anti-ballistic missile system -- originally planned around space-platformed lasers -- to shield the United States from nuclear attack.
Systems of the kind had been proposed decades earlier, but the discussion essentially ended with the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty of 1972. Reagan's speech was a major policy shift toward increased military tension.
Critics of Reagan's program immediately pointed out that the plan had three minor shortcomings:
a) it was technically unworkable,
b) it proposed a plain violation of a existing international treaty, and
c) it arguably made war even more likely.
Other than that, Star Wars was a really nifty idea.
To quote from the U.S. intelligence community's own classified 1983 Interagency Intelligence Assessment of Possible Soviet Responses to the US Strategic Defense Initiative, written in the wake of Reagan's speech:
"...there will be a large variety of possible measures the Soviets can choose from to preserve the viability of their ballistic missile forces. Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMS) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMS) can be upgraded with new boosters, decoys, penetration aids, and multiple warheads. The signatures of these systems can be reduced and new launch techniques and basing schemes can be devised which make them less vulnerable to US missile warning and defensive weapon systems. These systems can also be hardened or modified to reduce their vulnerability to directed energy weapons. The Soviets can employ other offensive systems, particularly manned bombers and long-range cruise missiles with improved penetration aids and stealth technologies, to assume a greater burden of the strategic offensive strike role and to exploit the weaknesses in US air defense capabilities."
In other words, even if SDI had worked, it wouldn't have worked.
The 1972 ABM treaty was clearly worded to apply to large-scale strategic anti-missile systems, defined as tested against targets moving faster the two kilometers per second and above 40 kilometers in altitude.
Since ICBMs move faster than two kilometers per second, and space is slightly higher up than 40 kilometers, the treaty would seem on first glance to apply.
However, the Reagan White House essentially ignored the the ABM treaty, choosing a "broad interpretation" in which the treaty simply didn't apply to the new technology.
(The strange notion that treaties can be unilaterally redefined by one side and still have meaning spurred some controversy. However, the similarly odd notion that treaties become obsolete with technological advances -- i.e., an agreement to put down your muskets becomes null the moment one side invents the machine gun -- received surprisingly little comment.)
Arguments were made, but Washington's historical record (like that of many nations) of obeying only those treaties which are to its own advantage remained intact.
The logic of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is simple enough for schoolchildren to follow. So is its unraveling, once the balance of power is removed. Suppose an American ABM system worked even modestly well. The Soviet Union would have more reason to threaten a first strike in any crisis, merely to maintain a credible threat. The U.S., in turn, would also be forced into a hair-trigger posture, increasing the risk of inadvertent war from both sides.
In addition, the ability to intercept a fraction of an opponent's missiles, far from a deterrent, obviously creates an incentive for the opponent to build more missiles.
Preventing such obvious endless lunacy was precisely the point of the ABM Treaty.
Fortunately for world peace, much Star Wars technology proved to be remarkably little more than a waste of money. Space-based lasers didn't work. Particle beams didn't work. The little man diving into the bathtub, causing the bowling ball to roll down the chute, shaking the cage until it comes down on the mouse didn't work.
Until very recently, as John Pike of the Federation of American Scientists phrased it, "high-altitude interceptor programs have been unblemished by success, failing to hit their intended targets with a consistency that has surprised even long-time skeptics." Eventually, even the Pentagon conceded that a comprehensive nuclear umbrella was an impossibility.
In 1993, Secretary of Defense Les Aspin renamed the Strategic Defense Initiative, now calling it Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD). But BMD still employed pretty much the exact same people and stuff, sucking up only about $4 billion a year.
However, in 1994, the GOP won control of Congress, and Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House.
The largest employer in Newt's home district? Lockheed.
Unsurprisingly, the budget for Star Wars began again to increase, even as the Office of Technology Assessment -- the government agency charged with providing Congress with objective critiques and feasibility studies on such things -- was defunded out of existence.
So why the name change, from SDI to BMD? "Strategic," with its implication of great utility in the master plan of a grand war, clearly was by now an obvious misnomer; tellingly, the new name implies merely defense from individual missiles.
Indeed, the new Star Wars -- now conceived around ground-based missiles -- is designed not to shield the U.S. from all-out attack, but merely defend against a mere handful of missiles hypothetically launched by terrorists or what the media calls "rogue states" -- typically Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and Syria (which, in spite of their obvious differences, are often cartoonishly lumped together as a sort of geopolitical Legion Of Doom).
But is this a legitimate rationale for continuing BMD?
No. Not according to our own government, anyway.
Quoting from the September 1999 report of the National Intelligence Council (a key CIA advisory panel), "Foreign Missile Developments and the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States Through 2015:"
"We project that during the next 15 years the United States most likely will face ICBM threats from Russia, China, and North Korea, probably from Iran, and possibly from Iraq... The Russian threat, although significantly reduced, will continue to be the most robust and lethal, considerably more so than that posed by China, and orders of magnitude more than that potentially posed by other nations..."
Notice that the pros don't consider the "rogue states" any big ballistic deal. (For good reason: you'd need stuff like actual missiles and viable nuclear programs and whatnot, which they basically ain't got.) Syria and Libya aren't even on the NIC's list. The main threat is from Russia -- which, let's recall, has enough warheads to render BMD completely meaningless.
But one of the "rogue states" still might well launch a single warhead, right? Nope. They're not stupid. Again, quoting from the newest NIC report:
"Countries or non-state actors could pursue non-missile delivery options, most of which:
Are less expensive than developing and producing ICBMs.
Can be covertly developed and employed; the source of the weapon could be masked in an attempt to evade retaliation.
Probably would be more reliable than ICBMs that have not completed rigorous testing and validation programs.
Probably would be more accurate than emerging ICBMs over the next 15 years.
Probably would be more effective for disseminating biological warfare agent than a ballistic missile.
Would avoid missile defenses...
Initial indigenous nuclear weapon designs are likely to be too large and heavy for a modest-sized ballistic missile but still suitable for delivery by ship, truck, or even airplane. Furthermore, a country (or non-state actor) is likely to have only a few nuclear weapons, at least during the next 15 years. Reliability of delivery would be a critical factor; covert delivery methods could offer reliability advantages over a missile. Not only would a country want the warhead to reach its target, it would want to avoid an accident with a WMD warhead at the missile-launch area. On the other hand, a ship sailing into a port could provide secure delivery to limited locations, and a nuclear detonation, either in the ship or on the dock, could achieve the intended purpose. An airplane, either manned or unmanned, could also deliver a nuclear weapon before any local inspection, and perhaps before landing. Finally, a nuclear weapon might also be smuggled across a border or brought ashore covertly."
Think about it: pretend you're a crazed dictator hell-bent to wipe out Pittsburgh. (Nothing personal, guys. Actually, there are people in Pittsburgh I love very much. Just making a point.) Are you gonna spend all your cash on a big-ass missile system that takes years to develop -- thereby all but guaranteeing satellite detection and a pre-emptive attack from the U.S. -- and which in any case leaves your fingerprints all over the attack, guaranteeing your subsequent annihilation? Or are you gonna just have a few guys smuggle the bomb parts into Canada, drive it over at Niagara Falls in the back of a VW minibus, and then simply pull the trigger on Three Rivers Stadium?
(The stadium, by the way, can go, as far as I'm concerned.)
And even if a "rogue state" did decide to go the ICBM route (again, quote the NIC's own report):
"We assess that countries developing ballistic missiles would also develop various responses to US theater and national defenses. Russia and China each have developed numerous countermeasures and probably are willing to sell the requisite technologies. Many countries, such as North Korea, Iran, and Iraq probably would rely initially on readily available technology÷including separating RVs [Re-entry Vehicles], spin-stabilized RVs, RV reorientation, radar absorbing material (RAM), booster fragmentation, low-power jammers, chaff, and simple (balloon) decoys÷to develop penetration aids and countermeasures. These countries could develop countermeasures based on these technologies by the time they flight test their missiles."
In short, there's little valid rationale for the BMD Star Wars program.
And that's assuming any of this stuff will ever even work.
How many times should a system be tested before the taxpayers spend billions of dollars on it? Many relatively simple weapons receive dozens of tests. Some receive well over 100.
How many tests are scheduled for the Ballistic Missile Defense? Including Saturday's, prior to its next review in June, the BMD program is receiving exactly... *three* -- only two of which it is required to pass (and remember that an understood failure is considered a success).
So come summer, will it gain approval? Of course. Get real.
June of 2000 will be at the peak of the presidential campaign. No candidate will want to look "weak" on defense, giving an opponent a hot-button campaign issue. Neither can any candidate resist the soft money campaign donations that major defense contractors can provide. The arms industry is now so powerful that whether or not these systems actually work is almost irrelevant.
Another similar -- and to some extent competing -- missile intercept technology, Lockheed Martin's THAAD (Theatre High Altitude Area Defense) system, failed six straight tests over the last four years while going billions of dollars over budget.
However, last August, after a mere two successful tests in tightly-controlled conditions, the Pentagon announced it would skip further prototype testing and begin final development of the project.
Two tests in controlled situations don't necessarily mean squat to actual combat conditions. It's the difference between a practice free throw in an empty gym and trying to drive the lane on Michael Jordan with the NBA title on the line.
For example, in spite of what Gulf War reporters said on TV, the General Accounting Office later determined that the Patriot missile -- which had passed numerous preliminary tests -- actually performed like (paraphrasing the GAO slightly here) crap. The problem was that incoming Scuds fragmented as the re-entered the atmosphere, creating an inadvertent set of decoys the Patriot couldn't handle.
Imagine how tough things will be if, as the CIA says will happen in response, the missiles have intentional countermeasures.
THAAD is now two-for-eight shooting free throws on its own home court. Total cost: only $15.4 billion. Projected implementation date: 2007.
And BMD is next in line, ready to cost us $28 billion more.
In the 16 years since Ronald Reagan first proposed Star Wars, between $50 and $100 billion (depending on who crunches the numbers and counts up what's what) has been spent. What do we have to show for the money?
Star Wars turned out to be impossible. No intercept system has ever approached reliability. The current scheme of BMD doesn't even address the most likely scenario for attack. And another $28.3 billion is about to be thrown on the fire.
Bottom line: will the new Star Wars do the job? Yes and no.
If we're talking about maintaining the flow of billions of dollars of taxpayer money to high-tech defense corporations, the answer is: yes.
If we're talking about defending the United States from ballistic missile attack, the answer is: no.
Bob Harris is a radio commentator, political writer, and humorist who has spoken at almost 300 colleges nationwide.
MotherJones MA93: Our secret agents
John Pike and Steven Aftergood, researchers at the Washington, D.C.- based Federation of American Scientists (FAS), make a living talking about what government officials can't--be it Star Wars, the Pentagon's "black budget," or nearly a century's accumulation of classified documents.
Pike (left), FAS's Space Policy Project Director, has emerged as the country's top independent expert on Star Wars research. Aftergood (right) publishes the monthly Secrecy & Government Bulletin, a frequent source of media scoops on classified information.
What secret information would you most like the new administration to declassify?
Aftergood: Something no one has even asked for, rather than more details on the Cuban Missile Crisis or Watergate. I suspect there are unreported scandals we don't know anything about. But I don't expect it will be any easier to uncover them.
Why not? Can't we expect some reform in government secrecy?
Aftergood: Secrecy serves the interests of the executive branch against the legislative--that's a temptation against reform. And regardless of what the new administration wants to change, there'll be resistance from bureaucracy. The Nixon administration declared that most documents could be declassified within ten years. Carter shortened that to six years. All these were executive orders from the president, but they never happened. Even explicit directives aren't enough.
What's on the FAS agenda now?
Aftergood: Rather than trying to penetrate the machinations of the Bush administration, we'll promote the need for urgent change. That means less research, more advocacy. It's not going to change until there's a demand for change.
Now that Bush is history, what's the outlook for Star Wars?
Pike: The reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. Clinton has said he'll spend as much on Star Wars as Bush. And he's chosen a secretary of defense who doesn't represent much of a change from the last one. The one change they are going to make--dismantling the formal Strategic Defense Initiative office--will make the situation worse by reducing the visibility of the program.
So what will keep SDI going?
Pike: Star Wars has gone on for so long that it's got a tremendous institutional and political constituency behind it. National security issues may be a bigger topic now, but it's not clear who's going to bell the cat.
Then you're a pessimist?
Pike: No, I'm a realist.
The Goals Have Been Scaled Back DraMatically - THE TIMELINE
1972 Nixon and Brezhnev sign historic anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty
1982 US and USSR start Strategic Arms Reduction Talks (START)
1983 Reagan announces Strategic Defence Initiative, or Star Wars . The original goal, laid out in Reagan's March 23 speech, is to render nuclear weapons "impotent and obsolete" and to protect the US population from a large-scale attack by thousands of Soviet nuclear warheads.
1987 The original mission is implicitly dropped as unrealistic and the focus shifted from protecting cities to enhancing deterrence by protecting US nuclear weapons from a disarming first strike. Reagan and Gorbachev sign INF treaty ending ground-launched, medium-range missiles
1991 Under President Bush, a space-based layer of "Brilliant Pebbles" interceptors is added to the plan, but the goal is scaled back to defending the United States against up to 200 warheads launched simultaneously. Bush Senior and Gorbachev sign Start I treaty
1993 Bush Senior and Yeltsin sign Start II
1997 Scaled back once again, the current goal is to defend against only 5 to 20 "simple" warheads, nominally launched by accident or without authorization by Russia or China, or deliberately by a hostile nation that might acquire long-range ballistic missiles in the future. The program might be expanded over time, with the objective of defending against a greater number of warheads.
2000 Star Wars missile test at Vandenberg air force base in California fails. Clinton declines to proceed with programme. Presidential candidate George W Bush pledges he would
2001 In December, Bush gives six-month notice period that US is withdrawing from ABM treaty, saying: "I have concluded that the ABM treaty hinders our government's ability to protect our people from future terrorist or rogue state missile attacks."
2002 US withdraws from ABM on June 13
2002 Groundbreaking ceremony at Fort Greely on June 15
STAR WARS HISTORY
HOW ASTROLOGY FITS INTO THE PICTURE
Reagan, Bush and Visualizing Star Wars
Dateline: May 30, 2001
According to a recent Washington Post article "Even with President Bush's political support, significant leaps in technology are needed to make his vision of missile defense more than what its critics call 'a shield of dreams.'" It is completely baffling why critics don't like the idea of spending upwards of 100 billion (with a B) dollars on a system that won't work, to scare off a few major countries that might launch missiles that have an obvious return addresses. This is an incredible opportunity which we must seize!
By now you are of course wondering what Ronald Reagan has to do with the story. Well he came up with this brilliant idea to address the "evil empire". furthermore even though he's not dead, Congress and other independent organizations are naming ships, buildings, and airports after the beloved 40th president. Planning for the Reagan Memorial on the Mall is already underway. (Yes it's true memorials are usually planned after death.)
Clearly all of these memorial and honored places have one problem, they are all earthbound. Why limit the Reagan name to earthbound places? Why not save a few bucks on an earthly memorial and rename the forthcoming National Missile Defense system the Ronald Reagan Death Star. Technically of course the particle beam system is known as the Global Intercontinental Pulsed Particle Elimination Reactor or GIPPER. Why bother with an earthbound monument when we can wake up in the morning with the knowledge that the GIPPER is up there circling the earth ready to zap those pesky projectiles.
Now let's get to the all important 3D portion of the project. George W. Bush, not known for being a rocket scientist clearly needs some good visual aids when it comes to the GIPPER in the sky. What a perfect application for 3D! One of the great strengths of 3D is to simplify complex information along with command and control systems. In order to help the President get a better feel for the global systems we can represent the whole global endeavour using a baseball. The sattelites circling the globe can be place into orbits that follow the seams of a typical baseball. Control of the system can be performed in a similar way that pitchers control a baseball. Placing the fingers in certain positions when throwing the ball causes different actions, the sinker, the curveball and the slider for example. When the US is attacked by an enemy our President can simply tell the Joint Chiefs to execute a slider or curve ball response. User interfaces can't get any better!
Let's get serious folks, the development and deployment of the GIPPER will be a broad based economic boon to those ailing defense contractors. Clearly the GIPPER won't work, at least in our lifetime, and the economic expenditure on failed tests, harebrained schemes, and exaggerated needs is desperately needed in order to prevent the much maligned "peace dividend" from taking hold. Please urge Dubya to get the GIPPER going!
SON OF STAR WARS
The plan, originally called the National Missile Defence programme, is to develop and deploy a defensive screen for the whole of the US, which would have the ability to track and destroy incoming ballistic missiles.
It has been nicknamed son of Star Wars after the original Strategic Defence Initiative - or Star Wars - of President Reagan, although the new plan is not nearly as complex or extensive.
Washington is hoping that radar and communication systems, some based in the UK and Greenland - in combination with satellites in space - would provide early warnings of an attack.
The incoming missiles would then be destroyed by sophisticated interceptors based in the United States.
In an effort to win over wavering allies, the Bush team has now dropped the "national" from the missile defence project.
They are now proposing a multi-national defence system covering the territory of as many countries that want to sign on.
But the bigger the area to be defended, the greater the technical challenge ahead.
Where does the threat come from?
The system is primarily being designed to defend the US from small-scale attacks by countries such as North Korea, Iran, or rogue states elsewhere in the world.
US defence planners are alarmed by the missile programmes of some of these countries, which are not only increasing their range, but could also be developing chemical or nuclear warheads.
The US insists the defence system is not intended for Russia, and that Moscow should recognise that it also faces the threat of nuclear attack from rogue nuclear states.
How accurate would it be?
The system is faced with the challenge of destroying several incoming missiles, without debris falling on the intended target. That requires early warning, accuracy, and multiple shots.
The technologies are still highly risky, and several tests have already failed or been delayed.
The system would also not be able to defend the country against a sustained ballistic missile attack.
How does it differ from the original SDI?
The original Strategic Defence Initiative - or Star Wars - envisioned putting defensive weapons into space, as well as huge number on the ground.
The new national missile defence programme, on the other hand, would only deploy a small number of ground-based weapons.
It also incorporates some new technologies, such as the hit-to-kill kinetic energy weapon, Thaad.
Would it be in breach of existing nuclear treaties?
The 1972 anti-ballistic missile treaty, signed by the US and the USSR, forbids the development of a nationwide defence system.
So if the US were to go ahead, it would either need the agreement of Russia to amend the treaty - or it would unilaterally reject the treaty.
Talks between Washington and Moscow have begun, but so far Russia appears firmly opposed to anything which it believes might weaken the effectiveness of its nuclear deterrent.
How is the UK involved?
The UK Government shares the scepticism of other European countries.
It has not yet had any formal request for assistance. But the US is reported to have suggested that the existing US base at Flyingdales and the communications installation at Menwith Hill should be upgraded.
If the UK were to agree, it would benefit from more effective radar warning systems, although there are no interceptors in Europe.
Critics say it could also increase the UK's potential vulnerability as it would be seen as a US ally, while not actually being covered by a defensive screen.
Any UK involvement would be likely to trigger a wave of anti-nuclear protests.
Would other countries be involved?
There are also US proposals to install radar and communication installations in Greenland, technically under the sovereignty of Denmark.
But many European countries are sceptical about the plans.
They are worried about the US pursuing a unilateral defence policy, and provoking Russia.
There is also concern that a defensive screen for the US alone would leave the Europeans vulnerable.
Washington has begun discussing a regional defence system. But the Americans have yet to win the support of their Nato partners. And the Chinese have warned that they might be forced to boost their own military deployments if the system is given to South Korea, Japan or Taiwan.
REAGAN'S STAR WARS IS MORE ILLUSIONARY THAN MOVIE
WASHINGTON, D.C. - You have to hand it to the proponents of building a national missile defense system.
Nothing stops these guys. We have spent over $120 billion since 1962 trying to find a way to intercept long-range missiles. Our best scientists have failed repeatedly to build a system that works. In 1975, we actually fielded a system of 100 nuclear-tipped interceptors - only to have then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld shut it down five months later because it was militarily ineffective. But the proponents are not discouraged.
Many of the most fervent advocates are veterans of the original "Star Wars" program begun by President Ronald Reagan. They spent nearly $50 billion between 1983 and 1993 without producing any deployable systems or major technological breakthroughs. Repeated failure hasn't stopped them from arguing that if they just had a few tens of billions more they could surely do it this time.
Their optimism is not tarnish by hard, cold facts. The Department of Defense has now tried 17 times since 1983 to actually hit a long-range ballistic missile warhead target with an interceptor. Fourteen times the interceptors missed.
After six straight failures, a THAAD interceptor earlier this month hit a short-range, Scud-like target that flew at about one-tenth the range of an ICBM. This brings the statistics up a bit to 3 out of 17, and marks only the second time this decade that we have performed this feat.
No one would fly a plane with that kind of test record, but this random success will undoubtedly be used "prove" all naysayers wrong and justify huge increases in the program's budget.
Intercepting missiles, however, is a tremendously difficult technological challenge, and we are still at step one.
In fact, hitting a missile in a carefully controlled test is the easy part. Next, we have to demonstrate that we can do it reliably and repeatedly. Then, we must show that we can do it when the enemy isn't as cooperative as our specially-designed targets, for example, when the enemy warhead is hidden in a cloud of decoys or jamming the interceptor's sensors. This will require years of rigorous, realistic tests before we know if we have something that will really work.
Why bother with all these tests the proponents ask? If we can put a man on the moon, they say, surely American technology can shoot down enemy missiles.
Let's get on with it! That is exactly why an expert panel led by General Larry Welch warned last year that the missile defense programs were in a "rush to failure."
In particular, the Welch panel said, the national missile defense program was "highly unlikely" to succeed, lacked coherence and a realistic plan, and should be fundamentally restructured.
These warnings have been ignored. The budgets have been increased, the schedules accelerated. These guys are optimists, and it is costing us: at $5 billion annually, missile defense is the most expensive single program in our defense budget.
Faith in America does not mean a blind belief in technological solutions. We cannot intercept a bomb once it is dropped or an artillery shell once it is fired, and we are, at best, a decade away from knowing if we can reliably intercept long-range missiles after they are launched.
Beware the techno-optimists; they may turn out to have a lot more in common with infomercial hucksters than true American pioneers.
Joseph Cirincione is a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. He served for nine years on the professional staff of the U.S. House of Representatives investigating missile defense programs. Readers may write him 1779 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036
STAR WARS II - CLINTON -GORE
January 20, 2000
"A deadline for Star Wars"
It has been nearly two decades since Ronald Reagan revealed his dream of an invisible shield to repulse all enemy missiles and keep our nation forever secure. Reagan labeled his plan the Strategic Defense Initiative, but the mockers and naysayers won the battle of semantics. The label that stuck was Star Wars.
Presidents have come and gone since then, but Star Wars has never quite died, despite a research bill that now totals about $100 billion and a string of test failures going back several years. The latest came this week, when a mock warhead fired from a California air base evaded an interceptor missile fired from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific. The military is scrambling to find out what went wrong.
President Clinton faces a self-imposed June deadline to decide whether to deploy a limited Star Wars system designed to knock down missiles from rogue nations like North Korea or Iran, both of which have recently made advances with long-range rocket technology. The idea has obvious appeal.
But the unfortunate fact is that we do not have the technology to pull off this trick. Even if tests scheduled for this spring are successful, it's clear that knocking missiles out of the sky is so difficult that a president facing a crisis could not be certain that the system would work. And when it comes to fighting nuclear war, certainty is pretty important.
Against that dubious benefit, weigh the concrete costs of deploying a system. The Pentagon says it would cost $12.5 billion, which means the bill will probably be at least twice that. More important, deployment would break the 1972 ABM treaty with the Russians, and our repeated attempts to convince them we mean no harm have all failed. They will respond, probably by refusing to cooperate with other disarmament initiatives. China has threatened to escalate its missile programs as well if we deploy.
The result of our deployment would be more danger, not less.
Research into missile defense is another matter. Neither political party is calling for an end to research. The promise of being able to save an American city from annihilation is simply too attractive.
But this can't go on forever. At some point, this system must show promise to justify further expenditures. We could have bought a lot more security by using the $100 billion to fund stalled efforts to dismantle Russian weapons or to provide work for unemployed Russian nuclear scientists.
The dream of an effective missile defense is, right now, just a dream. If the military can't show better results, Star Wars should be allowed to retreat into the world of fiction in which it was created.
Published on Tuesday, July 17, 2001 by the Associated Press
Going Backwards - Pentagon Revives Reagan-Era Star Wars Proposal
by Robert Burns
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. The Pentagon's blueprint for expanding missile defense research includes the first-ever test of a space-based interceptor by 2005-06, a senior defense official said Tuesday.
Details of the test are not yet worked out, and space-based weaponry though a long-range possibility is not the Pentagon's first priority for missile defense, said Robert Snyder, executive director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, which manages the Pentagon missile defense research.
Speaking to reporters at an Army-sponsored briefing on missile defense, Snyder said the experiment would be designed to prove the concept of hitting a ballistic missile early in its flight with a projectile launched from space.
This is a concept first pursued in the 1980s as part of President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, which aimed to create an impenetrable shield against attack on the United States by thousands of Soviet missiles. It never progressed to an actual test in space and was shelved in the early 1990s.
Baker Spring, a missile defense expert at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based think tank, said in an interview Tuesday that it is debatable whether the experiment planned for 2005-06 would violate the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. It clearly would be a violation, he said, if a spaced-based interceptor were deployed.
He said the issue of treaty violation is probably moot since the Bush administration has said it intends to go beyond the ABM treaty with other kinds of tests even before 2005. President Bush wants to either replace the treaty with some other arrangement that would permit missile defense deployment, or exercise the U.S. right to withdraw from it after a six-month notice.
The Bush administration has not publicly emphasized the space-based weapon concept because it recalls the "Star Wars" tag that Reagan's critics attached to his Strategic Defense Initiative. The administration is focusing most of its missile defense efforts on anti-missile weapons based on land, at sea and in the air.
Snyder said that although the space-based concept is unproven, it has certain attractive aspects.
"There's an advantage to global satellites and global interceptors in the sense that they're always there" in orbit, he said.
During the administration of President Bush's father, the Pentagon briefly pursued a version of space-based missile defense that it called Brilliant Pebbles. It was based on the notion of building a constellation of 3,600 to 4,000 orbiting satellites from which anti-missile projectiles could be launched.
In the experiment planned for 2005-06, the projectile would not be based on a satellite because it would be intended only to prove the basic concept; instead it would be launched into space aboard a rocket, oriented as if it had been stationed in space and then released to chase down its target, Snyder said.
© Copyright 2001 The Associated Press
June 1, 2001
On May 1, 2001, President Bush reiterated his campaign pledge to deploy a multitiered ballistic missile defense system as soon as possible.
More than $70 billion spent on missile defense projects since 1983 has produced precious little beyond cost overruns and technical failures.
The Bush proposal to move full speed ahead with missile defense, even if it means abandoning the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, could halt progress toward nuclear arms reductions and spark a new global arms race.
GOING BACK TO STAR WARS
The Bush administration goes beyond its predecessor's 'limited' National Missile Defence system, enlarging the proposal to get closer to Ronald Regan's 'Star Wars' concept. Will the weaponisation of space thus become a reality?
ON July 14, a modified Minuteman II Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) was launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Carrying a mock warhead and a decoy balloon, it was intercepted in mid-course by the "kill vehicle" of a prototype interceptor missile and destroyed by impact about 225 km over the Central Pacific Ocean. This was the fourth in the series of intercept tests, but only the second successful one, carried out by the Ballistic Missile Development Organisation (BMDO) of the U.S. Department of Defence (DoD) as part of the development of the controversial missile defence shield.
The announcement by the BMDO on July 15 claimed that the test had been successful. In particular, it had demonstrated the ability of the "hit to kill" technology to differentiate between a warhead and a decoy, an issue widely contested by critics based on data from past tests and held by them as an argument for the unworkability of the very idea of a nationwide missile shield. But, more significantly, the present test also marks a paradigm shift in the approach of the Bush administration to the missile defence system concept from the former President Bill Clinton's "limited" National Missile Defence (NMD) system, comprising 100 ground-based interceptors.
While the "geometry" and the "mechanics" of the July 14 test were stated to be identical to the tests last year, "a lot of new software has been developed for use in a variety of systems," according to the DoD spokesman. "Tonight's test," said the DoD's press release after the test, "is part of a robust and on-going testing programme that is a layered approach to defence, using different missile architectures to deter the growing threat of ballistic missiles and other weapons of mass destruction."
The July 14 event, however, tested only the land-based interceptor part of the missile defence system. The interceptor had been launched from the Ronald Reagan Missile Site at the Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of Marshall Islands, about 7,700 km away in the Central Pacific, 20 minutes after the launch of the ICBM. About 10 minutes after the launch, the "kill vehicle" sought the warhead and destroyed it. The "kill vehicle" is essentially a small but heavy payload (weighing about 50 kg) and moves at a very high speed of about 25,000 kilometres an hour after separation from the booster of the interceptor missile rocket. It uses its on-board infra-red sensors and data from ground based radar and sensors to differentiate between the incoming missile warhead and decoy and manoeuvres itself to meet the warhead head on and destroy by collision.
The first intercept test, claimed by the BMDO to be successful but criticised by the scientific community for data rigging, took place on October 3, 1999. The second test on January 19, 2000, failed because of "a clogged cooling pipe in the kill vehicle". The third test on July 8, 2000, also failed because the "kill vehicle" did not separate from the booster rocket (Frontline, August 4, 2000). In all, 19 intercept tests have been planned by the BMDO. Given the unproven nature of the technology, Clinton put off the decision to deploy the missile defence system.
By this decision of September 1, 2000, Clinton, although committed to eventual deployment of a "limited" NMD, had deferred the deployment decision as well as the construction of the X-band radar in Alaska that would violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty between the former Soviet Union and the U.S., to the new administration. The deployment of a missile defence system is, however, top priority for the Bush administration, thus fulfilling his election campaign promise. The exact mechanics and time-table for deployment are still evolving, according to the BMDO, the key to which will be the Defence Secretary's pending report on national security strategy by December and the on-going negotiations with Russia to bring President Vladimir Putin around from his current firm stand to stick by the ABM Treaty which is in conflict with the proposed missile defence system.
Indeed, Bush's enlarged missile defence concept - which he has called a "multilayered" system - will no longer be called NMD; it will be simply Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system which will include under its umbrella various scenarios and schemes of missile defence, as well as different systems of architecture, as against the single ground-based approach of the previous administration. Besides, providing a nationwide missile shield to the 50 states of the U.S. territory, the new system includes Theatre Missile Defence (TMD) and other missile defence concepts as part of a single system.
"Other alternatives to a ground-based system will be explored in the months and years ahead," Craig Quigley, the DoD spokesman, told a Pentagon press briefing in the run-up to the July 14 test, "various means of intercepting missiles in the boost, mid-course and terminal phase. And you could have some combination of sea-based, air-based, ground-based, air-borne laser. A variety of systems will receive research and development, testing and emphasis in the time ahead. Which ones will pan out, time will tell," he said.
The most comprehensive description of the change in the missile defence system was made by Lieutenant-General Ronald Kadish, the Director of the BMDO, during his testimony before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on July 12 while presenting the DoD's 2002 budget for BMD programme. "The fundamental objective of the reconfigured missile defence programme," he said," is to develop the capability to defend the forces and territories of the U.S., its allies, and friends against all classes of ballistic missile threats." He told the Committee that at the direction of the Defence Secretary the BMDO was pursuing an R&D (Research and Develop-ment) and test programme that focusses on a single integrated BMD system, which does not differentiate between a TMD and an NMD, and the BMDO will deploy, over time, various combinations of sensors and weapons rather than committing itself to a single architecture.
His remarks now should be contrasted with his statement under the Clinton regime while countering criticisms that the NMD is essentially derived from the abandoned 'Star Wars': "The system we are developing is cetainly not Star Wars, or even "Son of Star Wars". Our architecture does not incorporate space-based weapons and is not designed to handle thousands of warheads in a massive nuclear exchange. Today's NMD is designed for a limited threat."
In his July 12 testimony Kadish said: "The Research, Development, Testing and Engineering (RDT&E) programme is designed to develop... layered defences that employ complementary sensors and weapons to engage threat targets in the boost, mid-course and terminal phases of flight and to deploy that capability incrementally... We will explore and demonstrate kinetic energy and directed energy kill mechanisms for potential sea-, ground-, air- and space-based operations..." "It does not define a specific architecture," Kadish said. "It does not commit to a procurement programme for a full-layered defence. There is no commitment to specific dates for production and deployment other than for the lower-tier terminal defence elements. It is not a rush to deploy untested systems; it is not a step-back to an unfocussed research programme; and it is not a minor change to our previous programme. Rather this programme is a bold move to develop an effective, integrated layered defence that can be deployed as soon as possible against ballistic missiles of all ranges."
"The previous NMD programme," he said, "was a high risk production and deployment programme dependent for its success on an RDT&E effort that was underfunded but charged with developing a system that would operate at the outset with near perfection and it was based on rigid military requirements. The new programme is built around a fully funded, rigorous RDT&E effort designed to demonstrate increasing capability over time through a robust, realistic testing programme." The BMDO has sought a funding of $8.3 billion for 2002, a 60 per cent increase over the previous year. "Our test philosophy is to add, step-by-step over time, complexity such as countermeasures and operations in increasingly stressful environments. It is a walk-before-you-run, learn-as-you-go-development approach," Kadish added.
These remarks are clearly in response to the criticisms to the entire missile defence programme contained in a comprehensive study on the National Missile Defence test programme by Philip E. Coyle, the Pentagon's Operational Test and Evaluation Director during the deployment readiness review last year. This study of August 2000, which had remained classified until recently, may well have been the key reason for Clinton's decision in September. Coyle himself had described in fair detail his observations on the system in a testimony last September to the House Committee on Government Reform. Since then there had been considerable pressure from members of Congress to make the report public. On May 31 this year the report was made public. An executive summary of the voluminous report is also now ready.
In brief, the Coyle Report finds that the NMD system's effectiveness is not yet proven, even in the most elementary sense. According to the report, the programme is too immature to assess its effectiveness or to predict potential deployment dates. In addition, the report says that the programme fails to test basic elements of the system, such as countermeasures or multiple engagements, which are expected to be the norm. The report also finds that the system will not be able to defend against accidental or unauthorised launches.
Tests that have been conducted to date, the report said, have been made progressively easier, and they have relied on artificially "canned" scenarios that provide advanced information that will be unavailable in actual engagements.
Whether Bush is able to convince his critics in Europe and elsewhere, notably Russia and China, about his proposal remains to be seen, but parleys with European, Russian and Chinese leaders by his negotiators have been very much in evidence in recent days. Although Russia and China are talking, they have expressed their unbending faith in the ABM Treaty. But indications from the Bush administration, in particular the enlarged missile defence plan, are that it would prefer Russia to change the ABM Treaty to accommodate the envisaged missile defences. All kinds of sops like purchase of missile surveillance radars and other equipment from Russia are being offered. However, if these attempts fail it would simply walk out of the treaty, the U.S. has maintained.
For some reason, this statement, and the statements made by key officials of the U.S. administration preceding the test, have not elicited any strong comments or reactions from the critics and nations opposed to the U.S. proposal. Bush has sought to enlarge the system concept to include sea-based and space-based interceptors, as well as the use of kinetic energy and beam weapons. The proposal is thus moving closer to the original "Star Wars" concept of the Reagan administration and weaponisation of space may well become a reality. The apprehension of many people when Donald H. Rumsfeld was appointed the Defence Secretary in the Bush administration, that weaponisation of space would happen earlier than later, may well turn out to be true.
STAR WARS JEOPARIDIZES THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM
By Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF, ret.
The World Trade Center is gone. The Pentagon is damaged. Thousands of Americans have died. We desperately need to find a way to make the American people secure from terrorist attack. And what are the president and Congress doing? Authorizing over 8 billion dollars for "Star Wars" -- an unworkable solution to a non-existent problem.
In March I went to Washington, D.C., and met with members of Congress. Our purpose was to plan a strategy for dealing with Bush's resurrection of a Reaganesque "Star Wars" system. The ICBM "threats" justifying the system are totally phony. The only real threat to the American people is terrorism, something "Star Wars" cannot help with (even if it works). No terrorist is going to use such a high-tech, costly, complex, visible, traceable means of delivery. The real threat, maintained, was from airplanes, ships, trucks, cargo containers, and suitcases. I asked them to withhold funding from "Star Wars" until the Administration can show that they're doing something about the real threat to the people of this country. A valiant few have tried, but alas ... too few. "Star Wars" marches on, and the coming budget-busting war on terrorism is too much, too late.
The great irony is that, while "Star Wars" weapons are useless against terrorists (in fact useless as a defense of any kind), by increasing apparent U.S. military superiority and invulnerability, these weapons actually increase the fear and hatred of people in the developing nations toward our government and therefore increase the terrorist threat.
Our unilateral abrogation of the ABM Treaty to build offensive "Star Wars" weapons disguised as defense also will drive a wedge between us and our allies (to say nothing of Russia and China) - just at the time when we need their cooperation against terrorism.
To make the American people secure, we most implement both short-term and long-term approaches to terrorism. In the short term, we need to protect this country from the terrorists who already hate us. In the long term, we need to avoid making more people hate us, so that existing terrorists are isolated and terrorism slowly dies out.
The short term problem is one of intelligence and internal security. This does not just mean the airlines. Pilots in the past were trained to cooperate with hijackers and negotiate later. Never again. Terrorists know they will never get in another cockpit ... this was a one time deal, and they made the most of it. Now they will try other things.
Smuggle bombs onto a cruise liner? Nukes on light aircraft? Sabotage a football stadium with a hundred thousand people in it? Poison water supplies? Who knows what else? We need a "red team" to think like terrorists and come up with possible scenarios so that they can be neutralized before they happen not after. Improve intelligence. Track aliens on temporary visas. Freeze terrorist finances. But with all this, security will never be perfect. The long-term solution is to stop making new terrorists and render current ones impotent. That means avoiding indiscriminate retaliation. A massive strike which kills bin Laden will guarantee that thousands of new bin Ladens will rise up to take his place. We can have security or revenge -- not both.
Only one thing has ever ended a terror campaign -- denying the terrorist organization the support of the larger community it represents. And the only way to do that is to listen to and alleviate the legitimate grievances of the people. This will require a foreign policy less obnoxious to the people of the region and less dangerous to the American people. This does not mean abandoning Israel. But it may mean withholding financial and military support until they withdraw from settlements in occupied territory and return to 1967 borders.
It also means getting serious about conservation, efficiency, and renewable energy so that we are less dependent on oil sheiks. Then let Arab countries have leaders of their own choosing, not handpicked, CIA-installed dictators willing to cooperate with Western oil companies. Institute a Marshall Plan for development of the region. It would be less costly than the war currently being planned, and certainly less costly than the events of September 11th. It would also be cheaper than "Star Wars" weapons, and would actually contribute to the security of the American people rather than jeopardizing it.
Providing security against terrorism will be neither easy nor cheap. But it will be much easier and less expensive if we return "Star Wars" to a quiet research program such as I directed in the 1970s. The battle against terror must be waged with intelligence and realism, not jingoism and anger. The American people deserve real security. Let's get on with it.
Dr. Bowman directed the "Star Wars" programs under Presidents Ford and Carter and flew 101 combat mission in Vietnam. He is president of the Institute for
Space and Security Studies. His PhD is in Aeronautics and Nuclear Engineering from Caltech.
Dr. Robert M. Bowman
2066 Deercroft Dr, Viera, FL 32940
TO SPACE AND SECURITY NEWS HOMEPAGE
U.S. spurns bid to ban arms in space
June 27, 2002
GENEVA, Switzerland (Reuters) -- The United States Thursday spurned a new bid by Russia and China to launch negotiations to ban arms in space, saying it saw no need for a new weapons pact.
"The United States sees no need for new outer space arms control agreements and opposes the idea of negotiating a new outer space treaty," U.S. Ambassador Eric Javits told the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament.
The conference, the world's principal multilateral arms negotiating body, has been blocked for three years by wrangling over whether a new treaty covering weapons in space is needed.
The deadlock has in turn meant that no progress has been made on lowering the risk of nuclear proliferation by outlawing the production of fissile material that could be used to make weapons, the other key issue before the conference.
International pressure for a ban on the making of fissile materials -- such as uranium-235 or plutonium-239, typically used to make nuclear explosives -- has increased since the September 11 attacks in the United States which triggered fears extremist political groups could be seeking nuclear weaponry.
While all states back the launch of negotiations, China has refused to let talks begin unless the question of weapons in space is tackled at the same time.
Nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction are banned from space by a 1967 international treaty. But U.S. plans to build an anti-missile shield have stirred concerns that it could opt to deploy non-nuclear arms in space.
Presenting the new draft, China's ambassador Hu Xiaodi said that a new treaty was needed to arrest "the worrying slide toward the weaponization of, and an arms race in, space."
The joint draft treaty would commit signatory states "not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying any kinds of weapons, not to install such weapons on celestial bodies, or not to station such weapons in outer space in any other manner."
European diplomats said that the Chinese-Russian proposal contained nothing particularly new and that U.S. rejection had been predictable.
The United States has long said it is ready to discuss weapons in space but that it is not prepared to commit itself to any formal negotiations on a ban.
Javits said that Washington would be willing to take part in "broad-ranging" discussions on space at the same time as the conference conducted negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.
With only one seven-week session of the conference due to be held before the end of the year, mostly dedicated to drawing up the annual report, delegates said it was extremely unlikely that progress on either the space or the fissile issue would be made in 2002.
Copyright 2002 Reuters. All rights reserved.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Weapons in space put the world at risk
Within the next few weeks, President Bush is expected to release his administration's new national space policy. The most crucial aspect of the plan will be whether it endorses placing weapons in space.
There have been a series of reports since 2001 that essentially advocate deploying space weapons. The Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization, initially chaired by Donald Rumsfeld, argued that the United States must take steps to avoid a "space Pearl Harbor."
The Rumsfeld report said there is no current bar to "placing or using weapons in space, applying force from space to Earth, or conducting military operations in and through space."
Not so coincidentally, seven of the 13 members of the Rumsfeld space commission had ties to aerospace companies that could stand to gain from the launching of a major space weapons program.
But just because we can do something doesn't mean we should do it. For years space has served as a sanctuary where nations cooperate rather than confront one another. Satellites save lives and support our economy by predicting the weather, helping first responders provide emergency assistance, facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid in cases of natural disaster and by making cell phones, pagers and modern financial transactions possible.
A weapons-free space environment also allows the United States to maintain its military superiority by supporting state-of-the-art reconnaissance, communications and targeting capabilities.
Placing weapons in space that can shoot down another nation's satellites will encourage them to respond in kind, putting U.S. satellites at risk.
Despite the benefits of a relatively benign space environment, there are voices within the Pentagon and military bureaucracies who argue that putting weapons in space is inevitable. In a U.S. Air Force document on "counterspace operations," Peter B. Teets, then assistant secretary of the Air Force -- and formerly COO of Lockheed Martin, a major military and space contractor -- argued that "controlling the high ground of space ... will require us to think about denying the high ground to our adversaries. We are paving the path to 21st century warfare now."
Research has already begun on a number of space weapons, including the XSS-10 and XSS-11 Experimental Spacecraft Systems, microsatellites that can surround other satellites and photograph, jam or collide with them; the Near Field Infrared Experiment, a program aimed at testing the ability to destroy targets in orbit; and the Microsatellite Propulsion Experiment, which plans to launch maneuverable kill vehicles that are perfect for taking out satellites. There are also plans afoot to develop Hypervelocity Rod Bundles, frequently called "Rods from God," designed to drop from space and hit targets on Earth.
In addition to the threats to U.S. security and our economy from sparking an arms race in space, the whole process would be extremely costly. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, launching an adequate number of Space-Based Interceptors to achieve total global coverage in a missile defense role could cost up to $60 billion over a decade's time. Space-Based Interceptors can also be adapted to work as anti-satellite weapons, although the numbers needed to reach an initial capability would be much smaller. And a Council on Foreign Relations study group estimates that placing just 40 rods in space for the "Rods from God" program would cost more than $8 billion.
Given all the other space weapons projects on the drawing board, a concerted effort to weaponize space could eventually exceed the $100 billion-plus already spent on the missile defense program, which has been plagued by delays and technical difficulties from its inception. Witness the fact that in the last two major missile defense tests, the interceptor missile did not even make it out of its silo. Launching and maintaining hundreds or thousands of weapons in the harsh environment of space would pose its own technical obstacles, some of which may not be readily overcome.
The better way to go would be to act now to establish some rules of the road for space-faring nations. The Henry L. Stimson Center has developed a model code of conduct for space that includes no flight-testing or deployment of space weapons, minimizing space debris that can destroy satellites and cooperating on space traffic management. The time to act on these ideas is now, while the United States still maintains unparalleled dominance in space.
Presidents of the United States: Internet Public Librarys resource.
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
The Presidential Libraries IDEA Networks page for Reagan.
The Ronald Reagan Home Page
A list of Reagans achievements through sound files.
Whatever Happened to Missile Defense?
An article published in a journal of international military affairs.
Ronald Reagan: Star Wars
Discovery Channels Reagan Activities page.
"Star Wars Revisited," by William Hartung and Michelle Ciarrocca, April 2000.
Union of Concerned Scientists
"Countermeasures: A Technical Evaluation of the Operational Effectiveness of the Planned US National Missile Defense System," by UCS and the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, April 2000.
Coalition to Reduce
Nuclear Dangers and Council for a Livable World
"Pushing the Limits: The Decision on National Missile Defense," by Stephen W. Young, April 2000.
Federation of American Scientists
John Pike of FAS provides up-to-date news coverage, as well as useful links on missile defense.
Center for Defense
"Star Wars: New Hope or Phantom Menace?" video released March 30, 2000.
Bulletin of Atomic
Reporting on global security, military affairs and nuclear issues.
Global Network Against Nuclear Power and Weapons in Space
Worldwide protests against Star Wars tests are planned for June 24 to July 4.
Don't Blow It
"Tell President Clinton 'Don't Blow It!' Send him a free postcard and help make nuclear weapons a thing of the past."
Center for Security Policy
A not-for-profit, nonpartisan educational corporation established in 1988 by Frank Gaffney.
The conservative nonprofit think tank offers "a website devoted to disseminating information and policy analyses regarding U.S. national security issues."
DC policy organization founded in 1993 by William J. Bennett, Jack Kemp, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Vin Weber.
"Budgetary and Technical Implications of the Administration's Plan for National Missile Defense," April 2000.
National Missile Defense." "Director, Operational Test and Evaluation FY'99 Annual Report - National Missile Defense," referred to as the Coyle Report. Submitted to Congress February 2000.
Ballistic Missile Defense Organization
Within the Department of Defense, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization is responsible for managing, directing and executing the Ballistic Missile Defense Program.
STOP STAR WARS
THE ORIGINAL STAR WARS MOVIE - 1977
THE DISCLOSURE PROJECT
THE DISCLOSURE PROJECT - WEAPONS IN SPACE
Weapons In Space: A Media Blackout
Sudden Social Change
STAR WARS / WEAPONS IN SPACE - LINKS
SPACE PRESERVATION ACT OF 2002
GOOGLE SEARCH FOR WEAPONS ON SPACE
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