As long as we’re talking about G.W. Bush and his insistence on moving ahead with bad ideas we may as well bring up that long-range ballistic missile defense system he ordered to be operational by October of this year. Seems the folks in the Missile Defense Agency will be rolling it out on schedule even though they admit that various major components behind its operation aren’t actually available or known to even work properly yet.
In December 2002 Bush directed the military to deploy an initial missile defense capability by October 2004, which would include six missile interceptors in Alaska and four at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. While it appears that the interceptors are on track to be fielded by the deadline, the Missile Defense Agency has indicated that other system components will not be ready and that alternatives will be used.
“They’ll deploy something in Alaska and claim it’s a protective system, but where’s the X-band radar? Where are those crucial systems for detection, tracking, and discrimination” of enemy missiles and warheads, Spratt asked.
“You can put something out there and you can claim we can do it with [existing missile detection sensors] and you can claim its adequate for the threat that we’re facing, but it’s a long way from what everybody thought was necessary for a minimal system,” he said.
Spratt said that U.S. efforts to develop new space-based infrared systems (SBIRS) for target detecting and tracking have “got lots of problems to work out.”
As with so many other things from this administration as of late this has the stink of election year politics all over it. I’d hazard to guess that the administration is betting that whether it works or not will be a moot point as the need to use it won’t likely arise before the election takes place (if at all). The folks most likely to use long-range ballistic missiles against us are the least likely to have access to them so this works as a great accomplishment claim for raising votes. Not to mention making for good profits for defense contractors. Surely a win-win situation for the administration.