Is the missile defense lesson that basing and geography matter? That interceptors matter? That command and control matters? All the above and more?
The administration’s Phased Adaptive Approach won’t provide the early intercepts promised according to Inside The Ring and based on a to-be-released Defense Science Board (DSB) report. “Early intercepts” in this context mean early in the attacking missile’s flight profile as opposed to 2012 versus 2020.
“The report’s unclassified conclusion is that [Missile Defense Agency] plans to achieve an early intercept capability as part of the Phased-Adaptive Approach are simply not credible,”…
The administration’s four-phase plan for European-based defenses calls for using three versions of the Navy SM-3 interceptor missile instead of more capable and faster Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) missiles, like those currently deployed in Alaska and California. The phased [adaptive] approach calls for ultimately fielding a souped-up variant of the SM-3 called Block IIB by 2020. The interceptor would be used against Iran’s arsenal of medium-range, intermediate-range and perhaps continental range missiles. In the future, the Pentagon has said it plans to use to Block IIB for so-called “early intercept” — before a missile releases its warhead and decoys.
I wish I could remember the site who provided the suggestion that the PAA was a cram-down, a ‘make the numbers work’ effort from the get-go.
Missile are fast and missile-defense systems need a compressed (that is, automated once release authority has been given, as it is with the Alaska and California based systems) command and control system. The missile defense release authority is said to be part of the problem; how big a part is not clear.
Missile speeds and the short times military officials have to make a decision to fire interceptors at an enemy missile means “early intercept wasn’t feasible for missile defense,”
So if the DSB has it right, was the credible missile defense capability (the Poland and Czech Republic basing scheme with GBIs) waved off in order to make the politics of the Russian reset work?
How will the Russians respond? Gloating (they’d be smart to avoid creating any bulletin board material)? Shoe-gazing (gloating, but only on the inside)? Continued complaining about missile defense (knowing a viable plan can be resurrected and that the technologies will improve)?
Maybe this means a missile defense system centered on protecting U.S. territory will emerge versus the PAA’s European-protection bias. Maybe.