Iran’s Missile Program And Its Implications For U.S. Missile Defense
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There is now, however, a growing consensus among independent experts that the existing strategic missile defense system does not measure up to the claims of its proponents. Two recent major studies, released by a Defense Science Board task force in 2011 and a committee of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 2012 questioned key assumptions behind current U.S. strategic missile defense programs. For example, the NAS committee’s study characterized the current Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system as “very expensive,” “fragile,” and “ineffective” against “any but the most primitive attacks.”3
Recent test activity by the Missile Defense Agency has given little reason to doubt the negative assessments of these comprehensive studies. Indeed, 2012 was notable for the complete absence of flight tests of GMD interceptors. In the two most recent attempts to intercept ICBM re- entry vehicle targets (in 2010), the interceptors failed to score hits, leaving an overall system record of achieving hits in only half of the highly scripted tests to date.