The pivotal alternative to Obamacare . . .
Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, by John C. Goodman. Order Today!

NEWSROOM
Commentary Articles
In The News
News Releases
Experts



Media Inquiries

Kim Cloidt
Director of Marketing & Communications
(510) 632-1366 x116
(202) 725-7722 (cell)
Send Email

Robert Ade
Communications Manager
(510) 632-1366 x114
Send Email


Subscribe



Commentary
Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook

Contribute
Your participation will advance liberty. Join us as an Independent Institute member.



Contact Us
The Independent Institute
100 Swan Way
Oakland, CA 94621-1428

510-632-1366 Phone
510-568-6040 Fax
Send us email


Interested in working with us?  Click here for more information.

Commentary

Go Slow on Missile Defense


     
 Print 

In his speech at the National Defense University yesterday, President George W. Bush argued today that the United States “must move beyond the constraints of the 1972 ABM Treaty” and implied that his administration would pursue a robust, layered (land, sea, air and space-based) missile defense program.

The president was purposefully vague about the details of his plans for the ABM Treaty and missile defense. For example, moving beyond the constraints of the current ABM Treaty could mean renegotiating the pact or simply withdrawing from it, but Bush did not announce such a withdrawal in the speech.

The president’s speech was premature and will needlessly roil relations with the Europeans, the Russians, and the Chinese. Bush is trying to pacify ardent advocates of missile defense on Capitol Hill and within the Republican Party. The problem is that the technology for missile defense needs to catch up with the advertisement. Despite the tens of billions of dollars that the United States has spent on missile defense research and development since the Reagan era, the technology for even a limited land-based system has not been demonstrated. Proven technologies for sea, air and space-based systems remain many years away. The Clinton administration was working on a limited land-based system because that was the technology closest to maturity.

A rush to deploy any system would lead to one that is unlikely to work properly and would be expensive and time-consuming to fix after deployment--the situation now faced by V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft being developed by the Marine Corps. Even if the North Korean threat matures faster than expected--unlikely, given North Korea’s current moratorium on missile testing--rushing the development of missile defense could actually delay the fielding of a workable system. The Bush administration should take its time evaluating the options and thoroughly testing the technology so that taxpayers do not end up holding the bag. If the administration wants a system that can be deployed in the shortest possible time, it will probably find--as the Clinton administration did--that a limited land- based system is the option of choice.
Ivan Eland is Senior Fellow and Director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute. Dr. Eland is a graduate of Iowa State University and received an M.B.A. in applied economics and Ph.D. in national security policy from George Washington University. He has been Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Cato Institute, and he spent 15 years working for Congress on national security issues, including stints as an investigator for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. He is author of the books Partitioning for Peace: An Exit Strategy for Iraq, and Recarving Rushmore.

New from Ivan Eland!
NO WAR FOR OIL: U.S. Dependency and the Middle East

The grab for oil resources has been a major factor behind many conflicts and military deployments because of its perception as a strategic commodity. This book debunks the notion that oil is strategic and argues that war for oil is not necessary to secure the flow of petroleum. Learn More »»






Home | About Us | Blogs | Issues | Newsroom | Multimedia | Events | Publications | Centers | Students | Store | Donate

Product Catalog | RSS | Jobs | Course Adoption | Links | Privacy Policy | Site Map
Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook
Copyright 2014 The Independent Institute