ALASKA MISSILE DEFENSE EARLY BIRD WEEKLY

(Twenty-Third Edition)

By: Ms Hillary Pesanti, Community Relations Specialist

Command Representative for Missile Defense

907.552.1038

hillary.pesanti@elmendorf.af.mil

 

Note: Click on any storyline for more information.

 

AUGUST 5, 2002-AUGUST 9, 2002

 

ALASKA SPECIFIC NEWS BREAKS

 

·        MDA lays out phased plan to get new radar into testing in 2005, Defense Daily

·        Fort Greely article, Cox Washington Bureau

·        Boeing, Raytheon will build U.S. radar station in Alaska, Wall Street Journal

·        Missile shield work cranks up in Alaska; test center under way at Army Fort, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution

·        Senior DoD officials to review latest missile defense budget plan, Defense Daily

MONDAY, AUGUST 5, 2002

 

·        Missile defense program changes course, Washington Post

·        Greece accepts Patriot following successful test, Defense Daily

·        MDA awards Boeing $33 Million to start work on sea-based X-Band Radar, Defense Daily

·        Opinion/letters missile defense, The Times (London)

 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 6, 2002

 

·        Snags send new missile back to drawing board, The Herald (Glasgow)

·        Missile tests coming: Date unknown, Santa Maria Times

·        The new nukes: The U.S. is developing a range of handy, ‘low-yield’ bombs – and it’s prepared to use them.  The Guardian (London)

 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2002

 

·        Bush wants ABM Treaty case tossed, Associated Press

·        White house budget review targets midcourse defense, SBIRS High, Inside Missile Defense

·        U.S., Japan urged to help reduce tension across Taiwan strait, Asia Pulse

·        Secretary Rumsfeld’s town hall meeting, DoD Briefing

·        Missile Defense: India won’t need it if the U.S. plays its part, Far Eastern Economic Review

 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 2002

 

·        ABL proceeding well with flight worthiness test series, Air Force reports, Defense Daily

·        China issues new warning to Taiwan, just in English, New York Times

·        Defensive strategy threat-free, China Daily

·        Pentagon still studying MDA budget reporting changes, Inside Missile Defense

·        Rumsfeld wants global debate over Doomsday weapons, Defense Week Daily

 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 9, 2002

 

·        Using technology to battle enemies wave of the future, Las Vegas Review-Journal

·        DoD opposes Senate-backed missile defense reporting requirements, Inside Missile Defense

·        USAF breathes sigh of relief at unloading shipboard radar on Navy, Inside The Air Force

·        Back to the future:  Protecting America’s coastal cities, easily, National Review Online

 

 

 

ALASKA SPECIFIC NEWS BREAKS #23

AUGUST 5, 2002-AUGUST 9, 2002

 

MDA LAYS OUT PHASED PLAN TO GET NEW RADAR INTO TESTING IN 2005, Defense Daily. August 7, 2002.  The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) plans to integrate its new sea-based X-band test radar into the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) testbed test program by September 2005, MDA officials said. Last week MDA awarded Boeing [BA] a $31 million contract to begin design of a sea-based test X-band radar (Defense Daily, Aug. 5). This first phase of the contract, for which the majority of the work will go to Raytheon [RTN], will center on the preliminary design of the sea-based test X-band radar. MDA officials yesterday outlined the full-phased approach for the new program, with the intention to integrate the radar in the test program in September 2005. This first phase of the radar program will run until October, said MDA spokesman Air Force Lt. Col. Rick Lehner. Then, a contract modification will be awarded for the November and June 2003 time frame when work will concentrate on completion of the radar design and platform and start of radar hardware fabrication, he said.  The third phase, running July 2003 to October 2003, will center on completion of the environmental analysis necessary to proceed with the radar program, he said. Then, the final phase will stretch between November 2003 and September 2005. During that phase, modifications will be installed on the platform, all hardware assembly will be completed and the system will be integrated into the GMD testbed, Lehner said.  "It should be ready for testbed use in September 2005," he said. 

 

The total value of the contract is estimated to be about $900 million. During an MDA radar review, the review team considered the use of radars for monitoring 14 different flight test trajectories, including the launch of interceptors out of Kodiak, Alaska, and Vandenberg AFB, Calif., and target shots from airborne platforms.  The review team concluded that the sea-based radar could meet 13 of those 14 trajectory scenarios, while a land-based radar could only meet five of the 14, Lehner said. "Having a moveable radar on a sea-based platform increases our flexibility to do more operationally realistic testing," Lehner said. However, MDA plans to proceed with the radar in a "phased approach," in which decisions will be made at the end of each phase to make sure the system should proceed, he said. Essentially, MDA will not put all the money upfront until the system is proven to perform, according to Lehner. In addition, the radar will be built with flexibility for land-basing options and to be upgraded if tasked to become an operationally deployed system, he said. For example, the radar is being designed specifically for testbed uses against more rudimentary threat representative targets for this phase of the program, Lehner said. The radar only will be "half populated," with only half of the radar modules placed on the face of the radar, he said.

 

Those radar modules could be increased if the president made a decision to deploy an operational radar. And, he added, the radar could be based anywhere, including on land. Meanwhile, as this new sea-based radar effort progresses, MDA will continue to upgrade the Cobra Dane radar at Shemya, Lehner noted. This latest program decision is expected to be the first of several efforts on the part of MDA to beef up its sensor options for the GMD program now that the United States is no longer a party to the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. MDA had been eyeing several opportunities for expanded use of ground-, sea- and space-based sensors. For example, MDA plans to incorporate an Aegis cruiser in the next GMD flight test slated for this month (Defense Daily, April 24).

The ABM treaty, among a range of restrictions, had prohibited use of mobile radars such as the Aegis system in tests to date. During the next flight test, the Aegis cruiser will be used in an "off-mode" role to the GMD system to collect target track data. And, the radars will be more fully incorporated into following tests, MDA officials said. Lockheed Martin [LMT] currently provides the Aegis weapons system for the Navy. The treaty had prohibited use of sea-based mobile radars for a missile defense system.

 

FORT GREELY ARTICLE, Cox Washington Bureau, August 7, 2002.  Fort Greely, Alaska --- They are just five giant holes, surrounded by massive construction equipment that elsewhere might signal the start of some suburban shopping center or downtown parking lot.  But here at the most remote U.S. Army post in the country, where caribou and moose outnumber men and women, the five holes signify the long-anticipated start of the most controversial military program in recent history.  Contractors started digging the 80-foot-deep, 16-foot-wide holes last month. Within two years, the federal Missile Defense Agency plans to fill
 the five holes with five missiles --- the foundation of a national missile defense shield.  If another country launches a missile at the United States, the rockets at Fort Greely can shoot it down in outer space, the system's architects say. If ongoing tests are successful, 50 to 200 more missiles could be added at Fort Greely, along with more in other parts of the world. Some in Congress and even the Pentagon question whether such a system, which could ultimately cost $238 billion by some estimates, will work --- just as they
 have since the program was hatched from the Reagan era Star Wars space defense program more than a decade ago.
 
 "So far all I see with this missile defense program is a bunch of baloney," Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) said at a recent congressional hearing.  Controversy aside, the missile silos under construction here leave little doubt that the program is well under way.  Officially, the installation is just a testing ground, although the military says it could be operational in case of emergency by September 2004, and there are few doubts it will become the center of a national missile defense system.  The base is the most important part of a $64 billion Alaska "test bed" that also includes a launch complex on Kodiak Island and radar stations in
 the Aleutian Islands.  "We're the real game in town," Army Col. Steve Davis, director of site activation command at Fort Greely, said recently as giant drilling equipment probed deep into the Alaska ground.  The military has awarded a $31 million contract to Boeing Co. in Anaheim, Calif., to develop a sea-based radar system by September 2005 for testing.  Davis, a gung-ho second-generation career soldier, says he has no doubt the missile defense system he's building will work --- and that it's necessary.  "Why would we even be setting ourselves up for failure if we didn't think this would work?" he said. "I know we need more testing . . . but I'm a
 professional soldier. I wouldn't be working on something if I didn't think it would work."
 
 Except for the 420 acres on Fort Greely where the missile silos are being built, there's little indication this 1,000-square-mile base could be the center of space age defense.  Its roots reach back as far as 1904, when it was an Army telegraph station. Beginning in 1948, it was the primary spot for the military's cold weather training exercises and experimentation, but last year it was officially mothballed as part of a round of base closings approved by Congress.  Today, only a handful of soldiers are stationed at the base, along with a cadre of civilian contractors. Their primary task is upkeep on the aging World War II era barracks and office buildings that stand like a military ghost town.  "It's a throwback in time," said Chris Nelson, a former Army officer who as Alaska's official missile defense coordinator is working with the federal government on the Fort Greely program. "You almost expect to see Beetle Bailey walking out of one of those old barracks."
 
 Despite the age of the base, several factors make it a good location for the missile defense system. First, Alaska is the only place in America where all 50 states can be protected by land-based missiles.  Radar can "see" missiles coming over the North Pole, considered the most likely flight path for any attack. North Dakota is more centrally located, but only Alaska can launch a missile fast enough to hit an incoming missile that might be headed to Hawaii or Alaska itself, according to Nelson and others.  Then there is the remoteness and the terrain. Attacking the missile system wouldn't be easy. Also, the water table is at least 400 feet down, far below where the missiles will be stored underground.  "It's just ideal," Davis said.  The only town near Fort Greely is Delta Junction, a small community two miles away that was devastated by the base closure last year. Also known as the terminus of the Alaska Highway --- another project that got its start with the military --- the town is generally conservative, patriotic and filled with veterans.
 
 Many locals say they are more concerned with the country's defense --- and the 150 or more soldiers the reactivation of the base might bring --- than with the possible threats that might come with being the center of the nation's missile defense program.  "People lost their jobs, lost their homes when that base closed," said Pat Resch, who has lived in Delta Junction for 40 years. "We're still
 hurting."  At the Buffalo Center diner, missile defense has been the talk of the coffee klatch for months, said regular Hank Dube, who moved here in 1959, the year Alaska became the 49th state.  Like others in conservative Alaska, Dube sees a missile defense program as necessary, even if unproven so far.  "There's been a lot of guesswork, there's been a lot of problems with it," said Dube, 75, a World War II veteran. "Who knows whether it will work or not?"
 
Backers of missile defense say even though no ballistic missiles were used Sept. 11, the attacks show the United States is vulnerable. The threat of nuclear war between India and Pakistan earlier this year, along with the growing number of nations with long-range ballistics capabilities, have expedited the need for a missile defense system even more, they say.  "Critics of the missile defense system argue that the . . . chances of [a missile strike against the United States] are remote," Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-N.Y.) said recently. "I contend that last year at this time, it seemed equally far-fetched that someone could organize the concentrated effort to fly airplanes into large buildings."  The flurry of activity since Sept. 11, after so many years of inaction, caught many critics of the program off-guard.  A hastily planned protest last month during a groundbreaking ceremony at Fort Greely attracted only a small group of pickets --- although the remoteness of the base, 100 miles southeast of Fairbanks, also factored in the scant turnout.
"It has certainly been going extremely fast, under pressure and, I think, under the radar, basically since the Bush administration came into office and certainly since Sept. 11," said Stacy Fritz, founder of No Nukes North, the most vocal of protest groups in Alaska.
 
Critics see many flaws in the program.  First, basically using a bullet to hit another bullet traveling at 5 miles per second is something that until recently was generally considered impossible. Critics say the tests so far are flawed because the target rockets had beacons on them and interceptor missile controllers knew exactly when the targets were launched and where they were going.  Critics say that even if the technology is made to work, an attacker would simply have to throw up several missiles and some decoys, and some weapons would likely get through.  And then there's the question of need. Why, critics say, should the country spend billions of dollars on an unproven system, especially when the Sept. 11 attacks showed that the bigger threat to the country is terrorists acting as suicide bombers?  "Instead of spending those hundreds of billions of dollars on things that could actually make our country more secure, we're spending it on something that doesn't work," Fritz said.
 
At the same time, critics say, the deployment of an anti-missile defense shield could cause other countries to increase their arsenals of offensive missiles. It could also spur them to launch a strike before 2004, when the system is expected to be rudimentarily functional.  Fritz also contends that the system could be used offensively --- something its designers say is pure hogwash.  "You can't arm these offensively," said Davis, the site commander. "Why would anybody be against something that's purely for the defense of this
country?"  Proponents say the missile defense shield is a vital part of the nation's war on terrorism that needs to be beefed up, just like defenses against biological or radiological weapons.  "Why do we have to choose between threats?" asked Nelson, the state missile adviser. "Each threat requires a response from us.  "What I don't understand is why anybody would want us to be 100 percent defenseless against missile attack."

 

BOEING, RAYTHEON WILL BUILD U.S. RADAR STATION IN ALASKA, Wall Street Journal, August 5, 2002.  The Pentagon said it is building a $900 million radar station on a floating platform off the coast of Alaska that will be a critical cog in the Bush administration’s efforts to build a missile shield to protect the U.S.  The X-band radar installation, to be built by Boeing Co. and Raytheon Corp., will be linked to as many as 10 ground-based interceptors in Alaska, one of three “emergency capabilities” that could be ready by 2004, a defense official said . . . Critics of the Bush administration’s system warn that without sophisticated satellites, which are years away from being ready, the interceptors and the new X-band radar would still be incapable of distinguishing incoming warheads from relatively unsophisticated decoys.  Pentagon officials said the “emergency system” incorporating floating radar isn’t intended to be foolproof. Rather it is intended to be part of a “test bed,” designed to gauge the technology’s effectiveness. For now, the radar would be used to guide test interceptors located on Kodiak Island off the Alaska coast.

 

MISSILE SHIELD WORK CRANKS UP IN ALASKA; TEST CENTER UNDER WAY AT ARMY FORT, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution (Cox Washington Bureau), August 4, 2002.  They are just five giant holes, surrounded by massive construction equipment that elsewhere might signal the start of some suburban shopping center or downtown parking lot . . . Contractors started digging the 80-foot-deep, 16-foot-wide holes last month. Within two years, the federal Missile Defense Agency plans to fill the five holes with five missiles --- the foundation of a national missile defense shield . . . If ongoing tests are successful, 50 to 200 more missiles could be added at Fort Greely, along with more in other parts of the world. Some in Congress and even the Pentagon question whether such a system, which could ultimately cost $238 billion by some estimates, will work --- just as they have since the program was hatched from the Reagan era Star Wars space defense program more than a decade ago . . . Officially, the installation is just a testing ground, although the military says it could be operational in case of emergency by September 2004, and there are few doubts it will become the center of a national missile defense system.  The base is the most important part of a $64 billion Alaska “test bed” that also includes a launch complex on Kodiak Island and radar stations in the Aleutian Islands.

SENIOR DOD OFFICIALS TO REVIEW LATEST MISSILE DEFENSE BUDGET PLAN, Defense Daily, August 9, 2002.  Pentagon acquisition chief Pete Aldridge and other members of the DoD senior executive council are slated to review the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) latest budget plans for its Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) next week.  Aldridge, at a Defense Writers Group meeting with reporters yesterday, said the senior executive council consisting of himself, the deputy defense secretary and the service secretaries, has the overall authority to review the MDA budget and make any future recommendations regarding deployment . . . On budget specifics, some items of interest that may come up for review will be funding for the addition of components in the BMDS program that previously were not allowed under the ABM treaty. For example, some MDA observers suspect there will be added funds to back MDA’s recent decision to proceed with a sea-based X-band test radar for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program . . . In addition, MDA budget plans will include dollars to expand its GMD testing regimes to add different targets and test locations. The GMD testbed construction at Fort Greely, Alaska, also will require budget support . . . In addition, the senior executive council is likely to review funding for a number of space-based platforms that could be used in the BMDS program like the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Low program . . . In addition, MDA will need funds for its more mature systems like the Lockheed Martin Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile, which is now in production and moving to the field.

 

GLOBAL NEWS BREAKS #23

MONDAY, AUGUST 5, 2002

 

MISSILE DEFENSE PROGRAM CHANGES COURSE, Washington Post, August 5, 2002.  This was to have been a big year for the Pentagon’s new PAC-3 missile defense weapon, a forerunner of the nationwide anti-missile system that the Bush administration is pursuing. Flight tests from February through May were supposed to confirm that the missile interception system worked and result in a decision this fall to proceed with full production.  But the testing went awry. In several cases, interceptors failed to fire out of launchers. When they did, they missed nearly as often as they hit. Unable to certify that the PAC-3 interceptor was ready for stepped-up production, Pentagon officials have put off the decision for at least a year and plan instead on further testing once fixes are in place . . . Officials acknowledged finding some technical shortcomings as a result of the tests but voiced confidence that they could be fixed. “Nothing that we’ve encountered so far would indicate that we’ve got some sort of a systemic problem, either in hardware or in software, on the missile,” said Army Col. Tom Newberry, the PAC-3 program manager.

 

GREECE ACCEPTS PATRIOT FOLLOWING SUCCESSFUL TEST, Defense Daily, August 2, 2002.  Raytheon [RTN] last week said that the Greek Air Force’s successful intercept of a subsonic target led to a verified acceptance of the company’s Patriot Air and Missile Defense System by the Greek Ministry of Defense.  “[The] firing confirms both the readiness of the Hellenic Air Force’s Patriot System as well as the readiness of the Hellenic Air Force to operate and maintain it,” William Swanson, Raytheon Company president, said in a statement after the test.  The target for the test of the Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missile system was a drone simulating a cruise missile flying at about 16,000 feet with a range of about 19 miles, the company said.  Flight and telemetry data collected during the test confirmed that the system successfully tracked the target with its radar then engaged the target, destroying it with a direct hit, the company said.

 

MDA AWARDS BOEING $33 MILLION TO START WORK ON SEA-BASED X-BAND RADAR, Defense Daily, August 5, 2002.  The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) last week awarded Boeing a $31 million contract to begin design of a sea-based test X-band radar.  MDA said the effort will be accomplished in a phased approach, with the first phase focused on preliminary design of a sea-based test X-band radar . . . The planned sea-based X-band radar is required to support the expanded test operations of the GMD component of the Ballistic Missile Defense System Test Bed, MDA said . . . The contract is expected to be the first of several efforts on the part of MDA to beef up its sensor options for the GMD program now that the United States is no longer a party to the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. MDA had been eyeing several opportunities for expanded use of ground-, sea- and space-based sensors. For example, MDA plans to incorporate an Aegis cruiser in the next GMD flight test slated for mid-August.

 

OPINION/LETTERS

MISSILE DEFENSE, The Times (London), August 5, 2002. Sir, There is very little strategic logic in adopting the US vision of a missile defense system to neutralize the missile threat from so-called rogue nations. Even if the huge technological barriers and economic costs can be bridged, unless the underlying causes of insecurity are also addressed, the threat will simply be relocated. Missile defense has the potential to be the greatest strategic blunder since the Maginot Line: while our Armed Forces keep watch for missiles in the sky, terrorists will be free to deliver nuclear or biological suitcase bombs to any European capital.  Co-operative engagement and strengthening of international arms control agreements quite rightly remain the key European responses to these threats. An unwillingness to abandon diplomacy for unproven and costly technologies should not be mistaken for knee-jerk anti-Americanism.  Dr. Ian Davis, Director, British American Security Information Council.

 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 6, 2002

 

SNAGS SEND NEW MISSILE BACK TO DRAWING BOARD, The Herald (Glasgow), August 6, 2002. The Pentagon’s PAC-3 missile defense system, hailed as the new “super –Scudbuster”, has failed flight tests and will not be available to protect US and British troops in any war against Iraq next year.  The system, which has been under development for eight years, was supposed to start production this month, but has been postponed until late next year at the earliest to allow time to iron out electronic problems . . . The original Patriots claimed to have downed a number of the 50 to 60 Scud missiles launched by Iraq during the Gulf conflict at Israel and Saudi Arabia. After-action analysis showed they had, in fact, achieved no confirmed “total kills”. The study also found that even when Patriots came close to incoming Scuds, they never managed to destroy their high-explosive warheads. One missile intercepted over Dharan, Saudi Arabia, broke up in flight after being peppered with shrapnel, but its warhead fell on a US reserve logistics unit, killing 29 men and women. The new PAC-3 has improved radar which can recognize and bypass debris and even electronic decoys to home in on the target. The system performed almost perfectly in tests from 1999 until 2001, but four more challenging tests this year have ended in failure. Officials overseeing the program say that, in combat, any problems would be overcome by launching more than one interceptor per target to guarantee a hit, but they conceded that there were a few technical problems to be fixed before full-scale production can be authorized.

 

MISSILE TESTS COMING; DATE UNKNOWN, Santa Maria Times, August 6, 2002.  Crews here and at a Pacific location are readying for the next in a series of controversial missile defense system intercept tests, scheduled to occur before the end of this month.  Pentagon officials declined to say specifically when the next Ground-based Midcourse Defense segment test would occur, but reportedly are aiming for the week of Aug. 19, according to other sources.  "Our policy is not to release (the date) until one week before it takes place," said Lt. Col. Rick Lehner, spokesman for the Defense Department's Missile Defense Agency.  At that point is when the Western Range at Vandenberg Air Force Base releases notices to mariners and airmen warning of closed seas and airspace off the coast.  A veil of secrecy also preceded the last two tests as the Defense Department clamps down on information surrounding the controversial missile defense system. "This is just following that precedent," said Lehner . . . For the $100 million test, a modified Minuteman 2 missile launched from Vandenberg will serve as the target for the prototype interceptor riding aboard another modified missile that blasts off from the Kwajalein Missile Range in the central Pacific Ocean . . . The test will be similar to previous attempts to intercept a dummy warhead in flight.  "The main difference will be the addition of an Aegis cruiser," said Lehner, adding a radar aboard the Navy ship will gather data on the target and interceptor. Until mid-June, use of the Naval radar was banned by the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, which the United States left in June.  Another difference is the secrecy surrounding the target. Pentagon officials will remain mum about the "target suite," typically at least one dummy warhead plus balloons and other decoy objects.

 

THE NEW NUKES: THE US IS DEVELOPING A RANGE OF HANDY, ‘LOW-YIELD’ BOMBS - AND IT’S PREPARED TO USE THEM.  The Guardian (London), August 6, 2002.  For the first time since the height of the cold war, the US is seriously contemplating the use of nuclear weapons. But this time they would not be used, as they would have been then, against another nuclear power. The proposal is that they would be used against countries developing weapons of mass destruction - chemical and biological as well as nuclear weapons.  Last week the Pentagon, for the first time, secured funds from Congress to develop “mini-nukes”, low-yield nuclear weapons designed in particular to destroy underground bunkers . . . And, as the defense analyst Dan Plesch puts it, by developing a missile-defense system in combination with new nuclear weapons, the Bush administration is “extending the notion of casualty-free war to nuclear war”.

 

FOREIGN POLICY OF BUSH RAISES GOP CONCERNS, USA Today, August 6, 2002.  Some Republicans in Congress have begun to rebuff the White House on foreign policy, posing an unexpected obstacle for President Bush as he prepares for what could be his biggest international challenge: toppling Saddam Hussein. The GOP reluctance to support the White House on key foreign policy issues signals an end to an extraordinary period of bipartisan cooperation on world affairs since September’s terrorist attacks. It means that Bush could have more trouble winning approval from Congress for future military operations . . . The White House downplays the concerns voiced by Republicans on Capitol Hill. “The president is very pleased with the bipartisan support Congress has given him on foreign policy,” Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer says. “From missile defense to the reduction of offensive weapons with Russia to the helpful hearings Congress has held illustrating the threat of Saddam Hussein, Congress has played a helpful role.”

 

OPINION/LETTERS

LETTERS FROM THE PEOPLE: MISSILE DEFENSE PLAN COULD ONE DAY SAVE THE PLANET FROM AN ASTEROID, Anchorage Daily News, August 6, 2002.  It might be wise to check with the dinosaurs about the missile defense plan. If the science programs on television are correct, the destruction of the beasts resulted from a massive asteroid striking Earth and resulting in a tsunami of vast proportions and a cloud that caused the equivalent of a nuclear winter that resulted in the extinction of most of the life on the planet. If Earth should be, at this time, in the path of an equally large or larger asteroid, it would be handy to have something here to shoot at it with even if we missed. At least we could have said we tried, and we might by accident hit the darn thing and knock it off course. Saving the planet with a well-placed atomic blast in outer space could be very gratifying.  R.W. McKissick, Anchorage

 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2002

 

BUSH WANTS ABM TREATY CASE TOSSED, Associated Press, August 6, 2002.  The Justice Department asked a federal court Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit filed by 31 House members challenging President Bush’s authority to withdraw the United States from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty . . . The plaintiffs are all Democrats, except for one independent who usually votes with Democrats. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, the lead plaintiff, has said the president must first seek the consent of Congress before pulling the United States from the treaty.  In a court document seeking dismissal of the case, the government said the Constitution grants the president full control over the conduct of foreign affairs and most treaty matters . . .  Precedents also show that federal courts can only become involved in disputes between the executive and legislative branches of government when a plaintiff can prove he or she was personally harmed, the government argued. Allegations that legislative authority has been diminished do not qualify, as those complaints can be remedied by the lawmaking process.  The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia . . . states that while the Constitution is silent on the role of Congress in treaty terminations, treaties have the status of “supreme law of the land” equivalent to federal laws and that laws can be repealed only by an act of Congress.

 

WHITE HOUSE BUDGET REVIEW TARGETS MIDCOURSE DEFENSE, SBIRS HIGH, Inside Missile Defense, August 7, 2002.  The Pentagon’s top missile defense program and a key space-based sensor will be part of a new White House budget review designed to judge federal programs on how well they are performing, with the assessment used in part to determine how much money the programs receive in the fiscal year 2004 budget, according to White House documents.  For the 2004 budget review, OMB will use a program assessment rating tool (PART) to measure dozens of federal programs including the Missile Defense Agency’s midcourse defense program, the Air Force’s Space Based Infrared High sensor, and the Cooperative Threat Reduction program, an arms control effort to reduce Russia’s nuclear weapons stockpile.  OMB describes the PART as “diagnostic tools that rely on the user’s professional judgment to assess and evaluate programs across a wide range of issues related to performance.”. . .  According to MDA’s FY-03 budget documents, the administration plans to spend slightly more than $3 billion on midcourse defense in FY-04. The funding would be used for the missile defense test bed now being built in the Western Pacific, the ground-based element of the midcourse program; the sea-based element; program operations; and systems engineering and integration efforts.  The SBIRS High program, a constellation of satellites that will provide missile launch detection information, was restructured earlier this year. The first satellite is expected by 2006. In May, Pentagon Acquisition Executive Pete Aldridge certified to Congress that the program was so important to national security the Defense Department was willing to swallow a $2 billion program cost overrun that threatened to derail it under the Nunn-McCurdy law.

 

U.S., JAPAN URGED TO HELP REDUCE TENSION ACROSS TAIWAN STRAIT, Asia Pulse, August 7, 2002. Taiwan National Security Council Secretary-General Chiou I-jen has expressed hope that the United States and Japan will help reduce the tension across the Taiwan Strait.  Chiou made the appeal in an interview carried by Tuesday’s edition of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. He defended Taiwan’s policy of stepping up its defensive power, saying that Taiwan has no other choice because mainland China refuses to renounce use of force against Taiwan. Without military power, he said, Taiwan will be unable to get equal footing treatment at the negotiating table. He noted that Taiwan not only relies on foreign countries for its weapons, but is also developing its own weapons systems . . . He urged the United States and Japan to help promote cross-strait disarmament so as to reduce the tension across the strait. Talking about the U.S.-proposed theater missile defense concept, Chiou said that Taiwan is interested in participating in the plan, although the U.S. attitude remains unclear. He added that Taiwan already possesses a degree of anti-missile capability through the deployment of American-made Patriot missiles.

 

BRIEFINGS

SECRETARY RUMSFELD’S TOWN HALL MEETING, August 6, 2002.

Q:  [Regarding the] National missile defense program, sir.  And I’m just curious, where are we going with that?  I’ve kind of been out of the program for two years now, and what your perspectives are on that, sir?

 

Rumsfeld:  Well, when I came in, it had been locked in a mode that it could not look at or think about or dream of anything that would violate the ABM Treaty.  We’re now beyond that.  And the treaty has been set aside; the sky did not fall; Russia is -- was met with kind of a yawn when it finally happened.  And despite all of our concerns that were expressed out of Europe that they didn’t believe that was a good idea, they now are comfortable because Russia was comfortable.  So, that program is now focused very much across the spectrum in attempting to look and find ways that we can defend against missile defense, missiles, ballistic missiles.  We also have to worry about cruise missiles, to be perfectly honest. And it is, I believe – I’m due to be briefed on that sometime in the next 20-30 days to get current.  And they’re moving towards the point where some decisions are going to have to be made, because after you do a research and development and experimental -- in that mode for a period, at some point, you begin to get a sense of what’s working and what’s not working, in which case you want to move some of the funds from the things that have less prospect into things that will have greater prospect of success.  And I think we’re very close to that time.

OPINION/LETTERS

MISSILE DEFENSE:  INDIA WON’T NEED IT IF THE U.S. PLAYS ITS PART, Far Eastern Economic Review, August 8, 2002.  America risks a charge of hypocrisy if it were to stop India buying the Arrow anti-missile system it is mulling. The argument goes that if India had a missile shield, Pakistan would build more missiles and set off a race. Change around the names of the countries and you have the argument against the United States’ own National Missile Defense plan . . . That reading misses the point: NMD was never meant as an end in itself, just one means of attaining security. And sometimes security isn’t served by missile defense. With South Asia, the U.S. apparently and rightly sees this to be the case. The trouble is, though it understands this much it hasn’t followed through.  India needs convincing that a missile shield is unnecessarily destabilizing because Pakistan is not a North Korea. A missile shield against Pyongyang is a calculated safeguard against regime unpredictability--rogue states are a class in themselves. But that strategy isn’t for South Asia. There’s no need for a potential missile race as political options exist. Those options hinge on the U.S. . . . Washington is right if it wants to resist a missile race in South Asia. But this is as much an acknowledgement that it must work more towards the necessary political resolution of the regional dispute. Not much has emerged yet from U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell’s swing through South Asia. But with luck that was a prelude to a higher degree of engagement.

 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 2002

 

ABL PROCEEDING WELL WITH FLIGHT WORTHINESS TEST SERIES, AIR FORCE REPORTS, Defense Daily, August 8, 2002.  The first Airborne Laser (ABL) plane is continuing a series of successful flight worthiness test flights, ABL program officials said yesterday.  As of Friday, ABL had completed four flights since its inaugural flight on July 18. On Friday, it flew to Boeing facilities in Seattle, where it will be painted, a program official said . . . An actual laser shoot down test against a target won’t take place at least until December 2004 . . . The aircraft now is undergoing complete systems functional checks and flight tests to verify aerodynamic performance and surveillance system checkout. These initial flights of the plane are planned as short-flight qualification tests focused solely on the performance of the aircraft. Following about five of those flights, the flight test profile will increase to include tests of the plane’s battle management system. Later flights are to include detection and tracking of Lance rocket launches from White Sands Missile Range, N.M.  Several of the battle management consoles already are onboard. The flight certification tests are conducted to ensure the modified aircraft still performs like a 747, officials said.  After the aircraft is painted in Seattle, it will be flown to Edwards AFB, Calif., for more extensive ground tests. The tracking and high-energy laser system also will be installed at Edwards.

 

CHINA ISSUES NEW WARNING TO TAIWAN, JUST IN ENGLISH, New York Times, August 8, 2002.  China’s major English-language news media, meant primarily for foreign consumption, threatened Taiwan today with military action if the island’s president, Chen Shui-bian, continued with what Beijing called “radical pro-independence moves.”  But the army’s newspaper, Liberation Army Daily, and the country’s other Chinese-language media were conspicuously mute on the point.  The divergent tone suggests that while the government wants to rattle its missiles for the audience overseas, it does not yet believe the current dispute is enough to raise the military alarm at home . . .The Chinese news media have revved up their Chen-bashing whirligig in the last two days, trotting out everyone and everything from Beijing noodle sellers to Spanish newspaper editorials condemning the Taiwan president’s latest remarks. Those remarks, made on Saturday, boil down to stating that China and Taiwan exist as two separate countries and that the people of Taiwan ought to have the right to decide if they want to reunify with the mainland or go it, definitively, alone . . . The English-language China Daily and the English-language Web site of the official Communist Party paper, People’s Daily, quoted a “senior military source” today as saying there was a growing possibility “that peace will have to be safeguarded and won through the use of force” because of President Chen’s drift toward supporting independence.

 

DEFENSIVE STRATEGY THREAT-FREE, China Daily, August 8, 2002.  Given China’s past glory as the “world center” for several dynasties and its subsequent fall it is only natural that other countries are amazed with China’s present-day growth miracle . . .The country’s military modernization drive, in particular, has become a recent target for some China-haters. They spread rumors about China’s alleged military menace to others. It is not strange for people to assume that a strong country is likely to invade a weak one. From that perspective, there is a reason for countries to worry about military development by their neighbors . . . As China’s military modernization effort aims to safeguard its sovereignty and avoid foreign interference in its own affairs, it has been developed in line with a defensive framework . . . Since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States and the following anti-terror campaign, new uncertainties in regional security increased . . . The United States wants to deploy the National Missile Defense shield to effectively carry out so-called “pre-emptive actions,” positioning the world at the heel of a new nuclear arms race. US military presence in Central Asia has already directly extended its influence closer to China’s western regions, adding new variables to China’s western development strategy . . .US military sales to Taiwan have driven the island’s independence ambition and seriously hampered the Cross-Straits reunification talks.

 

PENTAGON STILL STUDYING MDA BUDGET REPORTING CHANGES, Inside Missile Defense, August 7, 2002.  Pentagon comptroller Dov Zakheim, Pentagon acquisition executive Pete Aldridge and Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish continue to work on a plan to tailor the Defense Department’s budget process for the missile defense program the Bush administration is pursuing -- a plan that was to have been delivered to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in early May.  Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called for the plan in his Jan. 2 memo that created the Missile Defense Agency and outlined the revised missile defense program the administration is pursuing. Rumsfeld said that within 120 days of his memo, a description of how DOD’s planning, programming and budget system would be tailored for the missile defense program would be drawn up . . . In response to questions posed by Inside Missile Defense, a Pentagon spokeswoman last week issued a statement saying, “There have been numerous discussions relative to the structure of the budget support documentation that will be required to accommodate the revised program structure. In the intervening period, the congressional oversight committees have required that the proposed structure of the program be modified to correspond with the conventional display of budget material. Until such time as a final program structure exists, it is not possible to enumerate the specific level of detail that this budget will take.”  The missile defense program will be subjected to the Pentagon’s combined program and budget review cycle, instituted last year, but “vetting of options and alternatives will take place through the Missile Defense [Support] Group (MDSG), which has been established to expedite the internal decision process in and among the relevant stakeholders,” the spokeswoman said. Aldridge chairs the MDSG.  The MDSG will make recommendations regarding the range of budget alternatives presented to it, but the final decisions will be Rumsfeld’s to make, the spokeswoman added.

 

RUMSFELD WANTS GLOBAL DEBATE OVER DOOMSDAY WEAPONS, Defense Week Daily Update, August 7, 2002.  The defense secretary said today that the media’s daily attention to the prospect of war with Iraq diverts attention from a larger global issue: how to respond to the threat of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Donald Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon that "reasonable people have to expect that there will be an event involving a weapon of mass destruction at some point in the future. The thing that people are wrestling with is: What does that mean? How ought democratic states to behave when their margin for error has shrunk and the risk for being wrong is no longer hundreds or a few thousand people, but potentially tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands?"  Rumsfeld said democratic societies need to debate the risks and the benefits of using all tools of national power, including military ones, in "preventive self-defense" against terrorists and rogue states that possess doomsday weapons. The preventive use of force is a central-and controversial-tenet of George W. Bush’s national-security strategy.  The debate has begun, he said, but it is obscured by the focus on when and how the U.S. might take on Saddam Hussein. Rumsfeld said the dialogue on mass-destruction weapons "tends to get deteriorated into a particular situation of one country or another and who’s for it and who’s against it."

 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 9, 2002

 

USING TECHNOLOGY TO BATTLE ENEMIES WAVE OF THE FUTURE, Las Vegas Review-Journal, August 8, 2002.  While the nation's two top Air Force leaders talked Wednesday at the Nellis base about what they've learned in the war on terrorism, a horde of officers huddled a few blocks away rehearsing how they will manage the military's battles five years from now . . . [Gen. John] Jumper [Air Force Chief of Staff] and Secretary of the Air Force James Roche said the nation's future battles on land, sea and in the air will be orchestrated through a computerized network of images and data from airborne radars, unmanned aircraft and satellites in space that will enable commanders to speed up decisions on attacking targets. The decision-making time can be reduced from an hour to several minutes . . . The ongoing Joint Expeditionary Force Experiment at Nellis Air Force Base, which is part of the larger Millennium Challenge 2002, is akin to the U.S. armed forces working out in a weight room, preparing to shoulder the heaviest battles that could be fought in 2007 . . . Among the new weapons they expect will be available in five years are the airborne laser -- a high-flying plane that can zap the pressurized fuel tanks of ballistic missiles with a high-powered chemical laser -- and a larger version of the Predator, one that will have six weapon stations to fire missiles and a small-diameter, 250-pound bomb, Jumper said. "The airplane is put together and it has flown. We'll be ready for the first shot in 2004," said Jumper about the airborne laser, the result of decades of so-called Star Wars research, of which at first he was "the biggest skeptic."

 

DoD OPPOSES SENATE-BACKED MISSILE DEFENSE REPORTING REQUIREMENTS, Inside Missile Defense, August 7, 2002.  In an appeals package delivered last month to fiscal year 2003 defense authorization conferees, the Defense Department expressed opposition to Senate legislation that would mandate an annual assessment of major Missile Defense Agency programs by the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation.  The Senate version of the defense bill would also require a Joint Requirements Oversight Council review of cost, schedule and performance criteria for missile defense efforts. Senators say the goal of both provisions is to boost independent oversight of MDA programs . . . The Pentagon asks conferees to omit the Senate provisions from the final version of the defense bill, which could be ready for a vote in both congressional chambers next month. The Senate reporting requirements would be an unnecessary burden for DOD, one of the appeals states . . . Given discussion by MDA officials about possible contingency deployments of various missile defense programs before they are scheduled to achieve full capability, possibly as early as 2004, Senate lawmakers called on DOD officials to obtain the “best possible information on the potential operational effectiveness” of a candidate system for early deployment, states the Senate report accompanying its FY-03 defense authorization bill . . . In its appeal to authorization conferees, DOD states that a series of agreements has already been worked out for DOT&E involvement in missile defense programs . . .

 

USAF BREATHES SIGH OF RELIEF AT UNLOADING SHIPBOARD RADAR ON NAVY, Inside The Air Force, August 9, 2002.  According to Pentagon sources, the Air Force is not upset about having one less ship to manage.  Pentagon acquisition chief Pete Aldridge recently directed the Navy to begin managing the historically Air Force-led effort to develop a shipboard radar system used to collect intelligence during ballistic missile launches, according to Pentagon officials. The decision was issued during a Defense Acquisition Board meeting July 24 . . . Aldridge's decision followed discussion among some in government that the Pentagon should consider an airborne platform to carry the radar systems in order to be able to more quickly react to unexpected missile events around the globe . . . Costs to maintain the existing shipboard system are expected to spike around 2008, and a replacement ship is the only viable option to avoid the additional cost of maintaining the aging system, according to one Air Force source. The Pentagon would also have to build several aircraft to handle the mission to ensure time on station is equal to that of a ship that can park on one spot for days, and this airborne option proved to be too expensive and unattainable by 2008, according to the source . . .The service's lack of familiarity with ship development prompted Air Force officials to lobby for the Navy to assume management of the future system, and the Navy is said to have reluctantly stepped up to the plate.

 

OPINION/LETTERS

BACK TO THE FUTURE:  PROTECTING AMERICA’S COASTAL CITIES, EASILY, National Review Online, August 8, 2002 . . . The threat is real enough. The 1998 bipartisan Rumsfeld Commission unanimously concluded that "rogue states" — and I would add terrorist groups — can today threaten American cities with short-range ballistic missiles (e.g., SCUDS like those used to attack Israeli cities in the 1990 Gulf War) fired from ships off our coasts . . . Rear Admiral Rod Rempt, former head of the Navy's missile-defense programs and now president of the Naval War College, said over a year ago that the Navy could, for $100-200 million and within a year, improve its existing AEGIS air-defense system to shoot down such missiles in their boost phase. But so far — while spending billions on other longer-term, and possibly eventually better, defense systems — the Pentagon powers-that-be have chosen to ignore this much-less-expensive, already proven, near-term option. So today our coastal cities still have no defense against that possible attack — and according to published plans, they will remain absolutely defenseless against this existing threat for the indefinite future . . . Why, as billions of dollars are being spent to invent new defense systems, do so few people consider how to use the existing Fleet surface-to-air missile, the standard missile, to destroy ballistic missiles in boost phase — as was proven possible almost 40 years ago? . . . The recent successful flights of a prototype, exo-atmospheric anti-ballistic-missile system fired from the USS Lake Erie hit a simulated SCUD-class ballistic missile above the Earth's atmosphere, giving recent proof the Navy still has the right stuff to serve the country well in this new age. Henry F. Cooper, chairman of High Frontier. Cooper was SDI director during the first Bush administration and President Reagan’s ambassador and chief negotiator at the Geneva defense and space talks with the Soviet Union.