It's Still a MAD, MAD World: The Illogic of U.S.-Russian Missile Defense Cooperation

Ellen Tauscher, a former under secretary of state for arms control, and Igor Ivanov, a former Russian foreign minister, have a new essay at Foreign Policy calling for the United States and Russia to cooperate on missile defense as a means to redefine their strategic relationship. They argue that “U.S.-Russian cooperation on missile defense could fundamentally change the bilateral relationship. It would shift the paradigm of U.S.-Russian strategic relations from ensuring the ability to destroy one another to jointly protecting the two countries from common ballistic missile threats.” Tauscher and Ivanov claim that missile defense cooperation can transform relations between . . .
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Max Boot Responds! And He's Still Wrong…

Earlier this week, Max Boot responded to my post from Sunday night on the differences between Israel's Iron Dome and U.S. missile defense efforts. Unfortunately Mr. Boot obscures the issue even further in his response than he did in his initial post. The new post misrepresents the history of missile defense, fails to properly address the errors in his initial post, continues to ignore the conceptual differences between Iron Dome and national missile defense, and erects a strawman argument as to the motives of those opposed to his views. Needless to say, I am less than impressed.

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Iron Dome Does Not Vindicate SDI

Sure, Max Boot makes terrible historical analogies, but I’ve always just assumed that the disagreements I have with him are based on honest differences and not utter ignorance. After today, I’m no longer sure that’s the case. Writing at Commentary Magazine’s Contentions blog, Boot argues,

The latest Gaza war is only a few days old, but already one conclusion can be drawn: missile defense works. This is only the latest vindication for the vision of Ronald Reagan… who made missile defense a major priority for the U.S. and our allies.

Boot is referring to the Iron Dome system co-developed . . .
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Addressing Bigger Problems at the Missile Defense Agency

Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin reported last week that the Pentagon’s inspector general is recommending disciplinary action against Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, director of the Missile Defense Agency. According to the IG’s report O’Reilly has a history of verbally abusing his staff and suggests the department’s leadership take “corrective action.” As Rogin relays:

The report found that O'Reilly regularly yelled and screamed at subordinates, often in public, demeaned and belittled employees, and behaved in such a way as to result in the departure of at least six senior staffers from MDA during his tenure.

“We determined that LTG O'Reilly's behavior . . .
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">Much Ado About Poland

Mitt Romney delivered his long-awaited speech to the Republican National Convention last night accepting the party’s nomination for president. The foreign policy section of the speech ran through the usual litany of complaints about Obama—his non-existent “apology tour,” he doesn’t reference American exceptionalism a minimum of 75 times in every speech, etc.—and was notable for not mentioning the decade-plus war in Afghanistan at all. But one thing he did mention, Obama’s supposed betrayal of Poland by removing ten planned missile defense interceptors, reflects an odd, but infuriating habit among conservatives.

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The offending sentence came toward the . . .
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Obama's "Hot Mic" and America's Pointless European Missile Defense System

By now the GOP national security establishment is sufficiently apoplectic over President Obama’s off-the-cuff statement at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul to outgoing Russian President Dimitry Medvedev that he’d have more “flexibility” on missile defense after November’s election.  There have been the usual accusations of Obama’s appeasement of Moscow and his selling out of American national security.  Fortunately Jacob Heilbrunn at the National Interest responds to the wailing with a cold dose of reality:

The good news would be if Obama really was prevaricating—if he was secretly prepared to jettison an expensive and worthless missile-defense program that is . . .
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Needlessly Kicking a Bear

Recent announcements by Russian President (for now) Dimitry Medvedev raise the specter of a new round of confrontation between the United States and its former superpower rival.  In response to planned American missile defense deployments in Europe Medvedev has said Moscow will deploy Iskander missiles, target land-based interceptor sites that will be activated later this decade, and shut down the Northern Distribution Network to Afghanistan that runs through Russian territory—a serious problem in its own right but even more so given the recent deterioration in U.S-Pakistan relations.  Russia, as well as its Soviet predecessor, has a history of making . . .
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Interceptor Test Failures and a Flawed Approach to Testing Missile Defense

A test of the advanced SM-3 Block IB interceptor, set to be deployed as part of the European Phased Adaptive Approach in 2015 ended in yet another failure for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).  This comes on the heels of last December’s failure of a ground-based interceptor, as well as a previous one in January of last year, and does not bode well for the tight schedule promised by the Obama administration’s planned Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense in Europe—where more advanced versions of the SM-3, namely the Block IIA and IIB, are set to be deployed in . . .
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Is American Missile Defense in Europe Really Necessary?

A June 13 subcommittee hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee has generated some controversy about President Obama’s missile defense plans.  At the hearing, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) confronted outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen about potential problems with the advanced version of the SM-3 (Standard Missile 3) —the Block IIB—interceptor that will be deployed at the end of the decade to complete the planned Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense in Europe.  While most of the commentary following the hearing has focused on potential problems with the SM-3 as . . .
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Satellite Sensors and Nuclear Deterrence?

Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute is generally one of the most well informed defense policy analysts and an intelligent commentator on defense policy with deep knowledge of an immeasurable number of weapon systems.  But Dr. Thompson’s recent article at SpaceNews.com discussing the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS)—whose first element, GEO-1, was launched into orbit last month—redefines nuclear deterrence in such a way that one is left wondering whether he is actually talking about deterrence or something entirely different.

Thompson posits,

[Information on hostile missile launches received from SBIRS] is essential to nuclear deterrence, which as currently practiced requires . . .
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