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View Full Version : Scientists Question Missile Defence Effectiveness - What a Surprise



Brian R.
16th July 2003, 10:39
washingtonpost.com

Questions On Missile Defense Plans
Scientists' Report Questions Technology's Effectiveness

By Bradley Graham
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 16, 2003; Page A02


An extensive study by a national group of scientists raised serious doubts yesterday about the likely effectiveness of some weapons that President Bush is pursuing in his drive to develop a system for defending the United States against ballistic missile attack.

The study, by a 12-member group under the American Physical Society, the largest U.S. association of physicists, focused on a category of weapons intended to knock down enemy missiles soon after launch in their "boost phase."

It concluded that while the boost-phase approach might provide some defense against longer-burning liquid-fueled missiles, such a system would push the limits of what is technically possible. Even more critically, the study found, boost-phase weapons would likely prove entirely ineffective against faster, solid-fueled missiles that potential adversaries -- notably, North Korea and Iran -- are projected by U.S. intelligence analysts to possess within the next 10 to 15 years.

The study did not deal with the central part of Bush's program -- a plan to install land-based interceptors in Alaska and California that would soar into space and obliterate enemy warheads arcing through their "midcourse phase" of flight. But Pentagon officials have acknowledged limitations to this scheme and spoken of the need to supplement it eventually with boost-phase weapons.

Delivering its findings in a 400-page report, the APS study group stopped short of calling the administration's expanded work on boost-phase technologies a waste of money. At a news conference in Washington, group members declined to be drawn out on the implications of their analysis, saying the purpose of their nearly three-year study had been simply to address technical issues.

"We just wanted to bring the facts forward," said Daniel Kleppner, a physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-chair of the study group.

But the group's lengthy critique is certain to complicate administration efforts to win congressional support for boost-phase systems, on which Bush planned to spend nearly $1 billion in 2004 out of a total $9.1 billion proposed budget for missile defense. Appropriations committees in both chambers of Congress already have voted to slash by half or more a Bush request for $301 million to begin developing land- or sea-based boost-phase interceptors.

Another boost-phase program known as the Airborne Laser, which involves mounting a laser in a Boeing 747 jetliner and zapping missiles, is further along in development and expected to receive the $626 million that Bush has sought for it. But weight problems and other technical glitches have bedeviled the program and forced delays in the first intercept attempt, now scheduled for 2005.

The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency issued a statement yesterday saying agency officials had not "had an opportunity to digest" the APS study but remained "confident" about the administration's course. "We continue to believe that boost-phase technology has great potential for playing a vital role in a layered missile defense," the statement said.

Boost phase refers to the first three or four minutes after launch in which a missile's burners remain lit. Flaming plumes make the missiles easier to detect by overhead satellites.



2003 The Washington Post Company

Dr Mordrid
16th July 2003, 11:22
The APS isn't what it once was; an independent group of scientists. Since the late '70's due to some rules changes in its charter it's been acting more like the antiwar movements mouthpiece.

As a result they've been naysaying every advanced tech. defense program for the last 20+ years, including many things that have been proven sucessful in combat :rolleyes:

The Aegis SM3 exoatmosphereic interceptors do work and have taken out missiles in boost, midcourse and terminal phases in numerous live fire tests over the Pacific.

Also witness the performance of the Patriot PAC-3 in Gulf War II: they scored about 90%. Not too bad for a program this same group opposed on technical grounds :D

The performance of these two items are enough that many nations, including Europeans, are now moving into the US court and asking for the technology. Australia announced last week.

Dr. Mordrid

The PIT
16th July 2003, 12:22
Sadly the greatest weakness has already been demostrated. The enemy within. :( :(

Damien
16th July 2003, 14:14
What would these physicists know anyway? Lets turn all major scientific advancements into weapons first because that will benefit all of mankind.

To think we are at the top of the food chain and all we can think about is self-destruction.

Dr Mordrid
16th July 2003, 18:55
These weapons are to prevent destruction, not cause it. Nothing wrong with that.

Dr. Mordrid

Gurm
16th July 2003, 19:49
SURE THERE IS!

Just ask all the liberals.

They can't tell you WHY it's bad to have anti-missile defenses, but it is.

Gurm_

Dr Mordrid
17th July 2003, 08:46
Ahhh...you mean that same moronic reason why it's bad to meet home invasion types at the door with a shotgun, right? ;)

Dr. Mordrid

cjolley
17th July 2003, 09:41
Are you all going to carry on both sides of the argument yourselves?
Or can anybody join? :p
chuck

Brian R.
17th July 2003, 10:19
I am going to try and not get involved. This was debated previously.

http://forums.murc.ws/showthread.php?s=&threadid=38558

Gurm
17th July 2003, 10:23
I'm waiting for a GOOD reason (other than "all weapons are bad" and "that's expensive") to NOT have a missile shield.

Until then I'll argue their side for them, in a sarcastic manner.

Gurm_

cjolley
17th July 2003, 10:32
Originally posted by Gurm
I'm waiting for a GOOD reason (other than "all weapons are bad" and "that's expensive") to NOT have a missile shield.


Can I take it it that you don't care about your wife & childs safety?
After all, they would be MUCH safer if you drove them around in a $130,000 Diesel Truck than whatever car you have (even a Volvo 960).
And don't use the lame excuse that it would be too expensive. ;)
chuck

PS I'm a liberal and my thoughts on the matter are much more complex than you give me credit for.
I'm not even against the idea of having a missile defense system.
Imagine that.....

Gurm
17th July 2003, 10:41
You don't have to be part of the group of "liberals", if you don't want to. :) You can just be a lonesome ol' liberal.

Kinda like you don't have to be part of the "Catholic Church" to believe in Jesus.

Gurm_

Gurm
17th July 2003, 10:45
Besides, I don't _have_ $130,000. Even if I diverted funds from the "food & rent" budget.

The USA has plenty of money. They can divert all the funds from "curbside recycling", and it'd MORE than pay for missile defense, while providing an ACTUAL service... since MOST curbside recycling goes to the landfill or the trash-burning plant.

And no, I'm NOT talking out my ass on that one. Go check. In Massachusetts, ALL curbside recycling is burnt at SeaMass. I worked for the DPW a few years back. At that time, only 50% of recycling was burnt, the other 50% was dumped in the landfill. Their "10 year goal" was to get it all burnt. Wow, makes all that work people do on it seem all worthwhile, huh?

Gurm_

cjolley
17th July 2003, 10:52
If all the traits attributed to "Liberals" by the conservative fantasy were really true it would define out almost all liberals.
It's as if I said that without exception conservatives were bleating sheep intellectually following Rush around wherever he leads them AND Christian Conservatives AND Bush Royalists AND Wanabe Mountain Men etc....

Of course, being a Liberal, I can admit that this can't really be true for every one of them.
Conservatives, being conservative, have a hard time dealing with non-absolutes. This makes it difficult for them to cope with the vagaries of the real world ;)

chuck


/edit: sp

cjolley
17th July 2003, 10:56
You could sell your car and your house & it's contents.
You don't REALY NEED that stuff do you?
chuck

Brian R.
17th July 2003, 11:03
If Bush starts talking about an "immediate" or "imminent" threat or something to that effect, I will start to get worried.

cjolley
17th July 2003, 11:08
Originally posted by Brian R.
If Bush starts talking about an "immediate" or "imminent" threat or something to that effect, I will start to get worried.

I would have, but not any more. :rolleyes:
I'd need more proof than his word.....
chuck

Brian R.
17th July 2003, 11:28
I meant worried about his credibility and the resulting actions.

Wombat
17th July 2003, 11:32
Originally posted by Gurm

The USA has plenty of money.

Then why don't we have a decent public school system? Why are 1 in 5 children lacking appropriate medical coverage? Why are people living in shitty public housing?

GT98
17th July 2003, 11:41
Originally posted by Wombat
Then why don't we have a decent public school system? Why are 1 in 5 children lacking appropriate medical coverage? Why are people living in shitty public housing?

Because it doesnt make much sense to dump money into programs that are ****ed already. Its stupid how public education money is spent...in Camden and other lovely locals in NJ they get extra money due to the large amounts of minorties that go there and they have low test scores for a vartily of reasons. What do they spend the money on? an A/V system that pipes video into classrooms....I was told this by the A/V rep whos from Wisconsion and she was in shock...she was telling us that the schools there aren't Schools...more like displanary barracks with the teachers shouting at the students and what not.

I've also read that to have a nation wide public heath care system it would cost something like 1 trillion dollars a month or a year to fund it....thats some serious cash!

What needs to happen is to fix the current problems before they go blowing more cash and dont get any results out of it.

US goverment Motto: "If its not broke, Fix it till it is"

cjolley
17th July 2003, 11:49
Originally posted by GT98
...What needs to happen is to fix the current problems before they go blowing more cash and dont get any results out of it....

Bingo! Exactly my feelings about missle defense. :D
chuck

Gurm
17th July 2003, 12:36
Well, I confess that the number of countries that could lob a missile at us right now is... limited. :)

The money WOULD be better spent on "homeland security", although we know what a joke that's been so far...

Gurm_

cjolley
17th July 2003, 12:47
And I will confess that basic research into particle beam and/or photon weapon tech, that could be used for this sort of thing eventually, is a good idea.

chuck

Brian R.
17th July 2003, 13:20
The best investment for our tax dollars is into education. The increased intellegence of our children will solve many of the problems we will pay much more for in the future without this spending.

cjolley
17th July 2003, 14:10
See?
They could do basic research at universities on particle beams that might someday help defend us from a missile attack by some as yet unknown enemy.
Then we'd all be happy!

chuck

Dr Mordrid
17th July 2003, 14:27
Originally posted by Wombat
Then why don't we have a decent public school system? Why are 1 in 5 children lacking appropriate medical coverage? Why are people living in shitty public housing? Education:

Primary education is what's in a mess in this country and not because of lack of funds but because of the behavior of the education establishment.

In this sacred cow environment we have what my wife (a teacher) calls "reading programs de' jour"; meaning that instead of finding reading programs for each level that consistantly work and sticking to them schools purchase reading programs that are marketed like breakfast cereal and change them very frequently.

Most of these programs do not work better than the old-school methods at all, and in many cases introduce such dubious techniques as "invented spelling", which in my wifes district meant no spelling classes until middle school...but the problem was that onbody in the primary schools or administration told the middle schools this would be the case.

Result: confusion when the kids hit middle schools since these schools never know what they're going to get. As a result large numbers of middle school kids end up in remedial reading. Because of their low reading levels they end up behind in other subjects and the tsunami rolls on from there.

Who's at the core of this? The people who really run our educational system: the NEA, who puts pressure on their Democrat and Republican cronies to stop legislation that would otherwise curtail their control over state school boards and bring about something they can't even stand the thought of: teacher accountability and testing.

A large percentage of teachers are in favor of this as a means to increase professionalism, but the leadership will never voluntarily accept it.

Medical:

Many of those 1 in 5 are elegible for programs that already exist but either their parents, guardians or crappy social services employees don't take the measures to get them enrolled. Then there are the reporting problems that cause the stats to be overstated.

Our family is a perfect example of this. Because of my disability Erik is elegible to get benefits he is not enrolled in because my wife has health insurance through her employment. Even so he's still counted as one of those 1 in 5 "without coverage". Our situation isn't unusual at all.

"Shitty public housing":

This is very often "shitty" because of the people living there, not because of the housing itself. Back in the old days I can't tell you how many of the welfare buildings I've seen open pristeen and actually very nice but end up looking like London after the blitz within a year. This because putting people of low means and self-expectation together in overcrowded housing often ends up with a bad result because what negativism they have is self-reinforced.

This wasn't helped by the fact that for poor mothers to get benefits they had to be either unmarried or divorced, and unfortunately many families divorced just so the kids could get benefits.

These rules were set up when the Democrats were in total control of Congress for 40 straight years, which IMO belies the "total support for poor families" they claim in their platform documents in every Presidential election :rolleyes:

Of course it's my opinion that the Democrats set this horrendous system up intentionally to create an angry underclass that they could exploit electorally. It certainly didn't make any other kind of sense.

Here in the Detroit area the reality that this system was fatally flawed was finally recognized by both the Democrats and Republicans at the State and Local levels. Combined with reforms brought on by a Republican Congress in the mid 90's (and kudos to Clinton for signing the bills, albeit under duress) the result was that most of the large public housing units were torn down; replaced by a program that places low income people in both normal apartments and rental homes across the region using vouchers. It's worked out so far, but still has a ways to go before all the old units are gone.

Too bad the Dems and NEA won't let the schools work the same way because many of them won't get fixed until they're replaced by something better :mad:

Dr. Mordrid

Dr Mordrid
17th July 2003, 15:06
Originally posted by cjolley
And I will confess that basic research into particle beam and/or photon weapon tech, that could be used for this sort of thing eventually, is a good idea.

chuck The basic research has already been done. Pulsed solid state lasers, microwave weaponry and high energy chemical lasers are on the way with many of them due for deployment within just a few years. The upcoming generation of Supercarriers have been modified to generate more excess power precisely to power such weaponry and the first should be leaving the dry docks within a few years.

Dr. Mordrid

Wulfman
17th July 2003, 15:09
if they have problems stuffing these things into 747s, then maybe they should do some additional research.

mfg
wulfman

cjolley
17th July 2003, 16:33
Things must be different in other states.
I was in the NEA here in Oklahoma when I was a teacher and it was about as weak as it could be and still be called a union.
We didn't even get health insurance!:eek:

As for controling the class room, the only attempted control that went on were the administrators who didn't want me teaching Evil-ution!
(They didn't succeed):rambo:

And I put up with that for $11,600 / year whille the "Administrators" of this 200 student school were making 3-4 times that much.
chuck

Dr Mordrid
17th July 2003, 16:46
Originally posted by Wulfman
if they have problems stuffing these things into 747s, then maybe they should do some additional research.

mfg
wulfman The solid state pulsed lasers are expected to fit in the back of a HumVee, complete with their generator. They have both high power and a rapid firing rate.

Anticipated uses: theater missile defence, anti-artillery and short range tactical.

Dr. Mordrid

Dr Mordrid
17th July 2003, 16:49
CJ;

You need to get out more. In more populous states like Michigan, Ohio, Califlakey, NY etc. the NEA is the main contributor and director of the Democratic party, along with the trial lawyers. Here in Michigan they basically run (as into the ground) the State and local school boards.

Talk about an evil empire :rolleyes:

Dr. Mordrid

Gurm
17th July 2003, 17:02
Reason #800 why my kids won't go to public school.

"But if you abandon the school system..." I hear the liberals whining.

TOO DAMN BAD. My child's brain is not going to be a martyr for a lost cause.

Gurm_

Dr Mordrid
17th July 2003, 17:22
Ditto here.

As an alternative to conventional public schools we have Charter Schools all around us by public demand and many even have free tuition. These are State schools that can operate like a private academy.

Yes, the State of Michigan itself is footing the bill for what amounts to State owned private schools with tougher rules and standards. This should say something about how conventional public education is going here....

You should have heard the MEA/NEA screaming their bloody heads off when that program went through the legislature :rolleyes:

Dr. Mordrid