Pentagon: Short-Range Iran Missile Threat Is Rising, and That’s Why We Should Scrap Euro Missile Shield

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 10:23 am

According to a Pentagon fact sheet on the now-scrapped plans for a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, Defense Secretary Bob Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff “unanimously” agreed to get rid of the shield in favor of “technology that is proven, cost-effective, and adaptable to an evolving security environment.”

Among their baseline judgments is precisely what former undersecretary of defense Eric Edelman cautioned — that the “threat from Iran’s short- and medium-range ballistic missiles is developing more rapidly than previously projected.” But Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities are still immature, and are proceeding slower than previously projected. Meanwhile, “U.S. missile defense capabilities and technologies have advanced significantly,” a trend expected to continue, and so the administration plans a four-phased for theater missile defense between now and 2020 based around those advances. Gates noted that those emergent technologies don’t rely on a “single, large, fixed European radar” that was supposed to be built in the Czech Republic; nor do they require the technology underlying the planned interceptor field in Poland. So out it goes.

It’s some good jujitsu: accepting the technological premises of missile defense advocates to argue that the planned Poland/Czech Republic-based system is a relic before it’s built.

Here’s full fact sheet.

President Obama has approved the recommendation of Secretary of Defense Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff for a phased, adaptive approach for missile defense in Europe. This approach is based on an assessment of the Iranian missile threat, and a commitment to deploy technology that is proven, cost-effective, and adaptable to an evolving security environment.

Starting around 2011, this missile defense architecture will feature deployments of increasingly-capable sea- and land-based missile interceptors, primarily upgraded versions of the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3), and a range of sensors in Europe to defend against the growing ballistic missile threat from Iran. This phased approach develops the capability to augment our current protection of the U.S. homeland against long-range ballistic missile threats, and to offer more effective defenses against more near-term ballistic missile threats. The plan provides for the defense of U.S. deployed forces, their families, and our Allies in Europe sooner and more comprehensively than the previous program, and involves more flexible and survivable systems.

The Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended to the President that he revise the previous Administration’s 2007 plan for missile defense in Europe as part of an ongoing comprehensive review of our missile defenses mandated by Congress. Two major developments led to this unanimous recommended change:

* New Threat Assessment: The intelligence community now assesses that the threat from Iran’s short- and medium-range ballistic missiles is developing more rapidly than previously projected, while the threat of potential Iranian intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capabilities has been slower to develop than previously estimated. In the near-term, the greatest missile threats from Iran will be to U.S. Allies and partners, as well as to U.S. deployed personnel – military and civilian –and their accompanying families in the Middle East and in Europe.

* Advances in Capabilities and Technologies: Over the past several years, U.S. missile defense capabilities and technologies have advanced significantly. We expect this trend to continue. Improved interceptor capabilities, such as advanced versions of the SM-3, offer a more flexible, capable, and cost-effective architecture. Improved sensor technologies offer a variety of options to detect and track enemy missiles.

These changes in the threat as well as our capabilities and technologies underscore the need for an adaptable architecture. This architecture is responsive to the current threat, but could also incorporate relevant technologies quickly and cost-effectively to respond to evolving threats. Accordingly, the Department of Defense has developed a four-phased, adaptive approach for missile defense in Europe. While further advances of technology or future changes in the threat could modify the details or timing of later phases, current plans call for the following:

* Phase One (in the 2011 timeframe) – Deploy current and proven missile defense systems available in the next two years, including the sea-based Aegis Weapon System, the SM-3 interceptor (Block IA), and sensors such as the forward-based Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance system (AN/TPY-2), to address regional ballistic missile threats to Europe and our deployed personnel and their families;

* Phase Two (in the 2015 timeframe) – After appropriate testing, deploy a more capable version of the SM-3 interceptor (Block IB) in both sea- and land-based configurations, and more advanced sensors, to expand the defended area against short- and medium-range missile threats;

* Phase Three (in the 2018 timeframe) – After development and testing are complete, deploy the more advanced SM-3 Block IIA variant currently under development, to counter short-, medium-, and intermediate-range missile threats; and

* Phase Four (in the 2020 timeframe) – After development and testing are complete, deploy the SM-3 Block IIB to help better cope with medium- and intermediate-range missiles and the potential future ICBM threat to the United States.

Throughout all four phases, the United States also will be testing and updating a range of approaches for improving our sensors for missile defense. The new distributed interceptor and sensor architecture also does not require a single, large, fixed European radar that was to be located in the Czech Republic; this approach also uses different interceptor technology than the previous program, removing the need for a single field of 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland. Therefore, the Secretary of Defense recommended that the United States no longer plan to move forward with that architecture.

The Czech Republic and Poland, as close, strategic and steadfast Allies of the United States, will be central to our continued consultations with NATO Allies on our defense against the growing ballistic missile threat.

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Comments

15 Comments

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Pingback posted September 17, 2009 @ 1:52 pm

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Pingback posted September 17, 2009 @ 5:06 pm

[...] this impact is quite negative. The official Pentagon fact sheet used the phrase “cost-effective” three times in describing their new plan. Corporations [...]


Photomaniacal » Blog Archive » Where the shield will be missed | Olivia Hampton
Pingback posted September 18, 2009 @ 9:14 am

[...] plans that had long irked Russia and reflected a reassessment of intelligence that found Iran was more rapidly developing its short and medium-range missiles – which could reach Europe, Israel and most Arab states – than its intercontinental ballistic [...]


Where the shield will be missed | Olivia Hampton - Politic News, Videos
Pingback posted September 18, 2009 @ 9:40 am

[...] plans that had long irked Russia and reflected a reassessment of intelligence that found Iran was more rapidly developing its short and medium-range missiles – which could reach Europe, Israel and most Arab states – than its intercontinental ballistic [...]


Where the shield will be missed | Olivia Hampton | Let Me Tell You...
Pingback posted September 18, 2009 @ 10:00 am

[...] plans that had long irked Russia and reflected a reassessment of intelligence that found Iran was more rapidly developing its short and medium-range missiles – which could reach Europe, Israel and most Arab states – than its intercontinental ballistic [...]


Name
Comment posted September 18, 2009 @ 9:18 am

The guiding light of this administration's foreign policy thus far has been a commitment to following the path of least resistance, at least as regards nations with interests inimical to our own. ( If only our liberal establishment were a bit more laissez faire on the domestic front, where it unfortunately seems all too happy to break as many eggs as possible in order to make its Mussolini-style omelet.)

Unanimity among the Joint Chiefs is meaningless. They do what they're told. But let's pretend they function independently and non-politically. Are we to believe they suddenly did a unanimous about face in the space of 9 months? The technology hasn't changed that much since Bush's last term. Nor do the JCs make policy calculations the like of which you're asserting they employed here. The Eastern European Defense Shield was about so much more than Iran. And I think you know that, but you choose to ignore it. If you really think it was based on relic-level technology, you're not seeing this clearly. If it was going to be as ineffective and unnecessary as you argue, why wouldn't Russia be happy to see it built? Perhaps the powers that be in Russia are not as wise as their friends and apologists in the West? If you are correct about the supposed albatross we were going to build in Poland and the Czech Republic, why was Russia so adamantly opposed to it? Reverse psychology, maybe? It seems to me that a rational Russian response would have been to happily watch us spend ourselves into oblivion in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. By the way, you never commented on Russia's recent announcement that it would be building an even more albatross-like ABM system to defend itself against nukes from North Korea.

Whatever arguments there are against building a missile defense in Eastern Europe, I'm afraid you failed to state even one of them. Don't feel badly about this, though. Whenever a position is wrong, it will always fall to self-contradiction and its own arbitrary reasoning at some point in the debate. You just got there quicker and more obviously than most.

There is one way to settle our differerences on this issue, however, and it is foolproof. Now that Obama has made his announcement, let's all sit back and listen for the reaction from Russia and Iran. If the new direction is in fact a stronger missile defense, we should expect Putin and the nuclear power wannabe's to thrash, wail and protest with louder voices and even more desperate conviction. I think we both know that's not going to happen. And that cold, hard reality puts the lie to your position. The real world always trumps wishful thinking. This new direction is just a face-saving smoke and mirrors announcement that was made for the benefit of domestic ears. The rest of the world knows it's a shirking of our responsibilities at best, and capitulation at worst.


Obama’s Secret Plan to Save Money on Missile Defense « Regurgitation
Pingback posted September 19, 2009 @ 4:09 pm

[...] at the Pentagon’s fact sheet, courtesy of Spencer Ackerman. “Cost-effective” is the preferred euphemism for [...]


brendanm
Comment posted September 20, 2009 @ 1:37 am

Your long post is not worth reading as you accuse this administration of being fascist, so you are obviously a fucking moron.


Name
Comment posted September 22, 2009 @ 9:56 am

Wait. I thought only the racist Nazis who were paid by big business to show up at health care meetings were capable of such mindless venom. Then again, I suppose your ugly words wouldn't qualify as hate speech since they were written in defense of fellow liberals. On the bright side, at least you know who Mussolini was, and that, at least insofar as he and his ilk are concerned, moral relativism is suspended. Somewhere in there, you made a (dare I say) value judgment. And it was based, however loosely, on the study of history; not the suppression of it. Perhaps all is not lost after all.


brendanm
Comment posted September 23, 2009 @ 3:51 am

Accusing someone of supporting fascist policies, which historically included tens of millions of dead people, because they endorse providing health care to the poor and brown people you people hate so much is a thoughtful contribution to this discussion, but pointing out that you're a fucking moron is “mindless venom?” My apologies. You're not a fucking moron, you're a repugnant human being, a liar, an insane person, a hypocrite of such an absurd magnitude as to make Sean Hannity almost seem intellectually honest. and also a fucking moron. Could these words be described as venomous? Maybe. But they are most certainly not “mindless,” unjustified, or inaccurate in describing someone who would describe the moderately liberal reforms being implemented by this administration and supported by tens of millions of Americans as equivalent to the policies of naked imperial aggression, mass-detentions, torture (Cheney-level stuff so far), extreme racism, dictatorship, and the systematic murder of millions of people.

And as a point of fact, the racists and teabaggers (polls have shown considerable correlation between opposition to health care reform and racial resentments) show up because they're angry, fearful, ignorant, and hateful (far-right wingnuts, is what I'm saying) and they've been organized and galvanized by the Astroturf groups like FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, which are corporate front-groups run by Republican partisans. This is not as orchestrated as the Brooks Brothers riot or anything, though several GOP officials and operatives have gone to town halls and claimed to be concerned citizens. The employees of health insurance companies, though, show up because they are paid to and have received memos instructing them to go. The LaRouchies, well…who the fuck knows why they do anything?

I'm willing to conclude that you're a lost cause, by the way.


Name
Comment posted September 24, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

Wow. Talk about extremist, intolerant and mindless. I know people that think like you are out there, but I know for a fact that most liberals do not think this way. Most liberals I know are usually pretty fair-minded. I may disagree with certain liberal policies, but I genuinely respect people like President Obama. I also like some of his appointees, notably Eric Holder, for example. I don't agree with everything they think and do, but I respect their character and admire their accomplishments. Most importantly for me, I think they are honest. Obama seems to be authentic in his desire to get along with the opposition. I'm proud that people of this caliber are leading America. I'd rather be led by a principled liberal with true leadership ability, than by a dishonest Republican with no core values.

I do not agree with overreaching government action, no matter how good the intentions behind it may be. It always exacts a cost far greater than any supposed benefit we derive from it. I think there is almost always a trampling of personal freedom that accompanies it, and I use the analogy of 20th century totalitarianism to serve as a historical warning. For this reason I also despise the Patriot Act.

I also do not agree with this blogger's reasoning in support of the missile shield issue. No one is infallible, and I can concede that it may turn out to be the right thing to have done, but not for the reasons stated above, in my opinion.

None of these viewpoints makes me or anyone else who holds them a liar, insane or racist. You really ought to not hate everyone who disagrees with you. People who think the way you seem to be thinking are all too prevalent on both sides of our national debate. Fortunately, most of us are embarassed and repulsed by this. Maturity and civility are virtues that anyone interested in political involvement would do well to learn.


brendanm
Comment posted September 24, 2009 @ 10:47 pm

You are exactly like Hitler, but we should have a rational and respectful discussion.

You see how that doesn't work? You are beyond disingenuous. In the future, don't begin discussions by comparing those you disagree with to mass-murderers, which is pretty fucking hateful, if you want “maturity and civility” in those discussions.

Also, your analysis of missile defense was awful.


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