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The U.S. Defense Department claims that its Ground-Based Missile Defense (GMD) and Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) systems make the U.S. homeland invicible from ballistic missile attack. These claims are insane, say two of the nation's top security experts.  (Source: Nato Source/Atlantic Council)

The security researchers claim drone-based interception over the enemy nation is the only reliable way to shoot down ballistic missiles.  (Source: DARPA/Boeing)

Iran is reportedly designing fin-less ballistic missiles that could outwit current U.S. interceptors. Iranian defense officials are pictured here unveiling their new drone bomber, which they nicknamed "the messenger of death".  (Source: Reuters)
They suggest a drone based solution would fix the flaws presented by a ground-based system, using only existing tech

The United States recently followed Israel's claims that it was ready to shoot down any nuclear missile aimed its way, with similar claims of its own.  The U.S. has begun reexamining space-based defenses and has also been quietly upgrading its ground-based missile-defense shield, even as U.S. President Barack Obama pushes his vision of global nuclear disarmament.

A new study, though, published in the 
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, insists that the U.S.'s claims of security are very flawed.  Authored by two top American security authorities, the study argues that despite recent upgrades and breakthroughs, America assertion that its homeland is safe from any airborne nuclear threat is a "dangerous fantasy".

George N. Lewis, a physicist and associate director of the Peace Studies Program at Cornell University, and Theodore A. Postal, a physicist and professor of science, technology, and national security policy at MIT, authored the new report.

The report specifically targets an April 2010 U.S. government resolution that declared the U.S. to be safe from ballistic missile threats from hostile nations such as Iran and North Korea, thanks to its US Ground-Based Missile Defense (GMD) and Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) systems.  According to Professors Lewis and Postal, though, this new declaration is based on a "technical myth" as Iran is thought to be developing countermeasures to make its ballistic devices harder to shoot down.  Other hostile nations may be working on similar countermeasures.

But the pair of professors isn't just griping about what they view as an ineffective strategy -- they're proposing what seems like a sensible solution.  They advise that rather than rely on what they call a "ineffective, untested, and unworkable" GMD system, that funding instead be put into developing a constantly airborne fleet of stealth drones over the airspace of hostile nations.

That way, rather than trying to shoot down missiles that have already reached the United States, Northern and Western Europe, and Northern Russia -- and likely are deploying countermeasures -- the drones would instead launch fast interceptors taking out the missiles over the hostile country's own airspace, preventing them from deploying effective countermeasures.

The plan would also be kosher with the New START arms reduction treaty, recently signed by U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.  That treaty set a limit of 1,550 ready-to-use ballistic warheads (each) on the U.S. and Russia's respective arsenals.  It also contained language limiting certain missile defense strategies.

The current systems, according to the pair of researchers, are ineffective for two reason.  The first is simple physics.  Interceptors, in their current form, can only accurately predict and target regular trajectories from finned missile designs.  Iran is reportedly designing fin-less designs that would likely cause interceptors to miss.  They could also employ tumbling missile designs, similar to those used to defeat the Patriot Missile Defense in the Gulf War of 1991.

Secondly, decoys can also hinder proper shoot-down.  U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles are equipped with decoy warheads, so that once in space, the real warhead launches amid a swarm of identical dummy warheads, making interception an increasingly impossible task. There's no reason why Iran, North Korea, or others would be unable to develop similar technology.

The authors take special issue with the U.S. Defense Department's claims that the U.S. is already defended from nuclear threats, pointing out that they have no evidence supporting that the system would work in combat.  Professor Lewis comments, "These claims are fantastical, audacious, and dangerous."

A drone solution they say would provide a full answer to the problem and would not require new technology.  Further, shot down warheads would fall on enemy territory should they still manage to activate after being hit by an interceptor.

Professor Lewis concludes, "The situation is urgent, as Iran is already demonstrating countermeasures in flight tests that would render both the GMD and SM-3 long-range missile defense systems ineffective.  If we, as a nation, refuse to confront the fact that our chosen defense system is not reliable, and if we fail to build a robust and reliable alternative system using existing technology, we will have only ourselves to blame if the continental United States suffers a catastrophe as a result of the successful delivery of a nuclear weapon by long-range ballistic missile."



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We need...
By quiksilvr on 11/1/2010 2:53:13 PM , Rating: -1
Metal Gear. Hire Kojima at once!




RE: We need...
By Mitch101 on 11/1/2010 3:56:30 PM , Rating: 5
I don't know in the bottom picture on the far left is clearly a Jedi.


RE: We need...
By JediJeb on 11/1/2010 4:13:54 PM , Rating: 4
Wouldn't that be Sith considering the company he is with?


RE: We need...
By dgingeri on 11/1/2010 4:14:19 PM , Rating: 2
yes, of course, the Iranians have to be employing Jedi in order to defeat us.

seriously, our best bet in a straight out ground based, destroy everything tactic. We go into Iran with 1.2 million troops (leaving 300,000 guardsmen for defending the country) and just level everything. Leave no stone upon another. Take all metal and/or technological items and anything else of value. Poison all the wells, sow every field with salt. Then we leave, and leave the survivors to live in a renewed stone age until they figure out how to rebuild from scratch. If they become a threat again, go in and wipe out everything all over again.


RE: We need...
By quiksilvr on 11/1/2010 4:20:22 PM , Rating: 3
Well that doesn't sound horrendous and dehumanizing in any way.

How would you feel if someone did that to your country just because your government had an itchy trigger finger and other countries didn't even attempt a realistic diplomatic approach?


RE: We need...
By nolisi on 11/1/2010 4:56:09 PM , Rating: 2
I'll give you both a practical reason why it's a bad idea- you'll have every other country wondering who's next. Not only does China have a larger military, who knows when/if they might create their own "coalition of the willing" and paint America as another Iraq that needs to be dealt with...


RE: We need...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 11/1/10, Rating: -1
RE: We need...
By OUits on 11/1/2010 6:18:51 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. They'd need something that at least resembles a modern navy. I'd be more worried about China's response to US aggression towards Iran.


RE: We need...
By bh192012 on 11/1/10, Rating: 0
RE: We need...
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 11/2/2010 7:26:38 AM , Rating: 1
Okay, let me get this straight:

Laugh, adverbial clause is signaled, question is raised, 3rd person plural subject, then "it's bitch?" Perhaps without the contraction: "then why are we it is bitch?" Nope, I still don't get it. Who is "it?" and why is "it" a bitch? Am I getting closer. Perhaps you meant, "then why are we its bitch?"


RE: We need...
By Redwin on 11/2/2010 9:10:55 AM , Rating: 2
So many viable ways to ridicule his statement, and you chose to go with improper contraction use?


RE: We need...
By bh192012 on 11/2/2010 7:00:24 PM , Rating: 1
You're ok with how I used capital letters though? Glad we cleared that up. What I really meant was, in my best Russian accent, "Why are we? It's bitch." Lamenting the fact that you and I have to exist together in the same world.


RE: We need...
By ekv on 11/1/2010 8:09:38 PM , Rating: 2
Don't know about you, but I consider China's ability to limit shipments of rare-earth metals to US as rather biting.


RE: We need...
By OUits on 11/1/2010 8:48:16 PM , Rating: 2
Right, but that doesn't really have anything to do with projecting military power outside it's borders.

"Projecting power" has to do with things like air superiority, etc.


RE: We need...
By ekv on 11/2/2010 12:09:06 AM , Rating: 3
I understand he was talking about projecting military power. However, "projecting power", as you say, has more nuances than mere military capability.

Keep in mind, two colonels in the PRC wrote, "Unrestricted Warfare: China's Master Plan to Destroy America". See also

http://www.comw.org/rma/fulltext/asymmetric.html

I'm not saying this is their master strategy. But, it would be in character for them to NOT confront us necessarily head-on. I think you would agree with me that an oblique approach makes more sense, especially considering US military strength today. [Maybe less so in a year, but that is then, not now].


RE: We need...
By fteoath64 on 11/2/2010 5:55:02 AM , Rating: 1
Militarily yes. But economically,they already control most of the world due to their cheap exports since they are able to hold their currency low. Hence, they are the cheapest bar none. They have gamed the monetary system.
With all the money earned, they are building huge infrastructure while most developed nations have no money to do so. Hence, in time, they will also dominate technology. It might take generations but they can wait.


RE: We need...
By clovell on 11/2/2010 2:59:54 PM , Rating: 3
What is an American IOU worth to the Chinese when we're at war?


RE: We need...
By Reclaimer77 on 11/1/10, Rating: -1
RE: We need...
By bh192012 on 11/1/2010 7:43:50 PM , Rating: 2
Well that's the basic tennent of not being evil. It's kinda like how we don't go around murdering and raping each other, ya know, cuz it makes others feel bad. Perhaps you're a robot? :>


RE: We need...
By thurston on 11/1/2010 7:41:52 PM , Rating: 4
You are correct genocide would work, but I like to think my country is above genocide.


RE: We need...
By Myg on 11/2/10, Rating: -1
RE: We need...
By oab on 11/2/2010 8:23:58 AM , Rating: 4
Genocide - Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group. -Wikipedia

It is obvious that abortion (as currently practiced in the US) does not meet the definition of genocide.


RE: We need...
By Jabroney701020 on 11/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: We need...
By Kurz on 11/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: We need...
By clovell on 11/2/2010 3:26:02 PM , Rating: 1
There are worse fates than death. It's obvious you've yet lived enough to understand this.

An unwanted or unplanned pregnancy more often has no moral redemption. Foster care, abuse, neglect, poverty, maiming, psychological trauma, rape, murder - all outcomes of such a pregnancy, in first, second, and third worlds, totalitarian, democratic, liberal, and communist societies.

The easiest way to solve a problem, is often to avoid it.

Also, anyone who is truly well-versed in the actual factual debate surrounding the equivocation of abortion to murder has a working knowledge of Peter Kreeft's "The Unaborted Socrates", and understands that semantics is exactly the hangup.

Beyond that, you're right. People's hearts won't change. Countries with proper family planning controls will continue to have higher indexes of personal prosperity and happiness. Women who are able to decide for themselves will not have to resort to cross-border trips or shady doctors, or rape, or malpractice maiming or deaths without legal recourse.

A pregnant mother and her child have a certain set of rights. To grant those rights to one is to take from another. It is necessarily barbaric. It is necessarily morbid. It is necessarily hard. That is reality. That is not a 5 millenia old black & white fairytale. It is reality.

To equate abortion to the Nazi holocaust is to demean the sacrifices of our grandfathers, to casually disregard the conviction and the level of hatred of the nazi movement for the humanity & rights of others. It demonizes a woman's right to exercise equal control of her life, and dismisses the agony she feels from the innate burden she bears from either choice.

So, in response to that mindset - This is very important, so I want to say it as clearly I can -

FUCK.

THAT.

SHIT.


RE: We need...
By Jabroney701020 on 11/2/2010 4:26:55 PM , Rating: 2
I agree and disagree.

Firstly, I disagree in that I did not completely compare the two in every way. I have equated genocide (every one, not just the Holocaust) and abortion on only 2 levels, the morality and the morbidity. I did not and do not intend to even attempt to compare them on any other level.

Secondly, I agree with the harsh reality and trauma that any and probably every woman must face during such decision making and procedures of the abortion. It's worse than anything that I (a man) will probably ever be able to understand fully (I say fully because there are levels of understanding below full understanding). My wife has been raped 3 times in her life, once while we were married, and the psychological fallout from that devastated our lives for a couple of years. But, if she were to get pregnant from the man that did that to her I made the choice and prepared my heart to raise that child, as did she (luckily she did not get pregnant from the incident).

God's Word and the limited life experience that I do have show me that life has very hard choices to make but there is a standard to which we should conduct ourselves to help us make those choices.

John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

I feel and have conducted my life by loving others more than I love myself, regardless of good or bad. I've had a lot of good and I've had a lot of bad. I currently am divorced from my wife after months of counseling following suicide attempts and drug abuse started 2 years after the last rape. I have full custody of both of our children, one is an infant, the other is my step-daughter by birth but my daughter in heart and I am fighting to raise my kids as well as I can because I am putting them before myself. I put my wife before myself as well but could not allow continuous threats of suicide and drug usage around my kids. Currently we are very happy and stable (2 years after the separation) and my ex-wife is doing a lot better as well and I help to maintain good relationships between her and my kids to this day.

Again, this is my level of understanding of hardship and suffering, still not quite on par with rape victims and victims of torture, etc.

I still feel that we all should love others more than ourselves, including mothers-to-be who were raped thinking more of the baby inside of them than of themselves.

ONCE AGAIN......I do have a good life, hapiness and a victorious outcome in life........women considering abortion might possibly have horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible painful lives...............I still feel the standard of loving others more than yourself is more basic and more important than that.

There is no true justification for ending a life. Not even to save your own.

A husband should step in between his wife and a pointed gun, even if it means that he will get shot by a mugger. Sucky situation, but reality on occasion. A father should run into the street to push his child out of the way of an oncoming vehicle, even if it means that he will get hit and die instead. Also a sucky situation.

Rate me a -5 and discontinue my account on DT if you want. This is what I feel is right, always and forever.


RE: We need...
By Kurz on 11/3/2010 9:49:22 AM , Rating: 2
Lol we would never discontinue your account.

We will have dissagreements take in case Reader his average of posts was -1 and he had to type in a code each time he posted.

I for one could in no shape or form support a child 4 years ago (Condom Broke). I was living paycheck to paycheck as was my girlfriend of the time. We continued to date and be together for a quite awhile after the abortion. We were quite happy at least I thought so.

Till I realized she was not really interested in me, Honestly I come from a household of "Lets stay together for the kids" It wasn't pretty.

Oh well to be honest I really don't think a bunch of cells as a individual. Since it isn't viable without the mother's conscent. You don't become a moral human being right off the bat. You have to mature, learn and assimulate into the culture you were brought up in.

When the baby is close to his/her 1 year birthday do you see the symblance of a personality.


RE: We need...
By mmatis on 11/1/10, Rating: -1
RE: We need...
By R3T4rd on 11/2/10, Rating: 0
RE: We need...
By Reclaimer77 on 11/1/10, Rating: -1
RE: We need...
By thurston on 11/1/2010 7:49:19 PM , Rating: 5
Why not just start posting.

If the Liberals didn't <blank> then <insert bad thing> wouldn't happen.


RE: We need...
By ekv on 11/1/2010 8:14:17 PM , Rating: 2
I'm just curious what the budget for the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, etc., is? and/or, what is the budget for GMD? I think the SM-3 is already purchased and field-tested [though testing suggests a round of necessary updates].


RE: We need...
By Reclaimer77 on 11/1/10, Rating: -1
RE: We need...
By eskimospy on 11/1/2010 10:58:48 PM , Rating: 3
Absolutely not. Star Wars was expensive to build, easy to overwhelm, in violation of treaties and destabilizing to the international order.

In other words, stupid in every respect.


RE: We need...
By ekv on 11/2/2010 12:14:31 AM , Rating: 3
And today we have 747's with lasers that can -- and have! -- shot down ballistic missiles. We have, today, missiles (deployed on the West Coast) that can intercept ICBM's. Etc.

Good start if you ask me.


RE: We need...
By eskimospy on 11/2/2010 10:08:55 AM , Rating: 3
None of this really addresses the shortcomings of the system. The problem is structural, one that any system designed for the mid course guidance intercept phase will run into. They are easily overwhelmed by decoys and volume by any real missile threat, and lesser countries interested in a chemical/biological/nuclear attack on us are unlikely to use ballistic missiles to do it anyway. If you're a small country interested in launching a nuclear attack on the US that is large enough to enrage us but not large enough to destroy us (ie: any rogue nation attack), it's a really bad idea to leave your fingerprints on the deed by virtue of a big glowing missile launch. So, this BMD system is largely useless.

The one thing it WOULD be good at is what makes it so destabilizing, however. It would mostly be useful after a first strike US nuclear attack on a strong nuclear adversary that wipes out most of their nuclear capability, leaving our BMD system to mop up their counterattack. This doesn't seem to be a priority for us (thank god), so I question this system's utility.

Star Wars was a ridiculous waste of money, and current BMD systems are not much better.


RE: We need...
By bh192012 on 11/2/2010 7:27:51 PM , Rating: 2
Why would NK care about the fingerprints on the missle, any more than they would the fingerprints from the nuke it's attached to? Both will point to NK. NK doesn't have enough decoys to matter. If Kim wanted to send us a couple of parting gifts from his deathbed, I'll be glad we have some interceptor capability. I'm sure he'd gladly watch us squirm v.s. China after destroying SF and LA.


RE: We need...
By ekv on 11/3/2010 1:50:13 AM , Rating: 2
No, I'm not addressing the shortcomings of the system. If that's what you're expecting then perhaps you'd also like to provide a research grant to go along with that? I promise the research paper will be top quality. Honest 8)

Further, you suggest "chemical/biological/nuclear attack" by lesser countries. An asymmetric or unrestricted approach to warfare is certainly possible given the irrational leaders of N. Korea and Iran. Each backed by China and Russia, respectively. But consider: in such a situation, leaving a "fingerprint on the deed" would not be an issue but rather a source of national pride. Especially if you're a pawn in a greater match. In this scenario, having a BMD system is invaluable. [Queen's Gambit Declined, anybody?]

As for destabilizing international relations ... I disagree. If we have the system, and we are a good people -- that wants to make a buck and provide for our family -- then you MUST think twice before trying anything stupid. That is not destabilizing.

I will grant you that whatever BMD system we have now is far from perfect. I doubt it is even funded, for crying out loud. However, I reiterate, what we have is a good start. It is interesting, not terribly expensive, productive and has great potential. [Things you cannot say about the War on Poverty].


RE: We need...
By Reclaimer77 on 11/2/2010 11:49:04 AM , Rating: 1
I always love this duplicitous tone on a tech site. I notice how when the discussion is about some green energy tech or things like the Tesla, people rush to point out how it's an early tech, how making it now will scale down costs later, and how all the shortcomings will be improved over time etc etc.

But when the discussion is about anything military or defense based, it has to be perfect the first time, right out of the box, or it's too expensive and stupid and ineffective in every respect and we shouldn't try.


RE: We need...
By Scabies on 11/2/2010 12:14:32 PM , Rating: 2
apple users


“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls














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