Why the National Missile Defense Should Not be Deployed

Sentence Outline -- Final Draft

Abstract. The proposed National Missile Defense will not protect the United States against the weapons of mass destruction. First, the technology is not ready yet. With one of the defense's tests being a failure and the other a very questionable "success", the President and Congress can not in good faith affirm the proposed system's maturity, much less its reliability or operational effectiveness. Second, the planned system could not defeat very simple countermeasures that any enemy could make. The decision to deploy the planned National Missile Defense system should not be made at this time.

    Introduction

  1. The deployment decision should be delayed until, first on paper and then in practice, the sytem shows it readiness and ability to intercept missiles and defeat countermeasures.

    How NMD is supposed to operate

  2. The latest version of NMD includes 250 ground-based interceptors, ground-based X-band radars, and space-based spy satellites employing IR sensors.
  3. In order to detonate, the kill vehicle must hit the target ("hit-to-kill" technology).

    Technology is not ready yet

  4. The track record of US's "hit-to-kill" technologies is abysmal.
  5. These data underline the necessity to verify that the technology is ready before deploying it.
  6. To ensure that NMD technology is mature, a prototype of the full system must be successfully tested.
  7. The performance of the NMD system in the only "successful" test indicates that kill vehicle's infrared sensor technology is immature.
  8. With the current testing schedule, not enough tests will be carried out to give a statistically significant measure of the proposed system's reliability and effectiveness.

    Inherent Ineffectiveness of the Proposed National Missile Defense

  9. The performance of NMD under real-world conditions, operational effectiveness, is essential, because the countries employing ballistic missiles will also use countermeasures to try to defeat the missile defense.
  10. The inability of the proposed NMD system to defeat even the simplest countermeasures in theory, much less in practice, renders it inherently ineffective.

    Biological/Chemical Weapons: Overwhelming NMD with a Large Number of Real Targets

  11. The proposed NMD system will have zero effectiveness against biological/chemical weapons that are delivered in submunitions, another name for small (<10 kg) warheads.
  12. Not only will this method of delivery defeat the proposed system, it is much more efficient at dispersing the agent over larger areas than a unitary warhead would be.

    Metallized Balloons: Overwhelming NMD with a Large Number of False Targets

  13. Releasing a large number of metallized balloons, only one of which contains the nuclear warhead, can overwhelm the proposed NMD system.
  14. The release of the balloons above the atmosphere and the presence of metal coatings render X-band radars useless.
  15. The infrared sensors of the kill vehicle can be prevented from discriminating a balloon with a warhead by covering balloons with appropriate surface coatings for daytime attacks or inserting small heaters in them for nighttime attacks.

    Cooled Shroud: Making the Infrared Sensors Near-Sighted

  16. The attacker can choose to go the opposite route: instead of introducing additional sources of infrared radiation, it can cut down (by a factor of a least one million) the infrared output of the warhead by enclosing it in a shroud cooled to liquid nitrogen temperature.
  17. While the missile range will be affected by the additional baggage, it would still be capable of reaching the United States.
  18. As figure 1 shows, the cooled shroud literally makes infrared sensors very "near-sighted".
  19. The consequences of such a drastic reduction in acquisition range render interceptors useless.

    Conclusions

  20. The decision to deploy the National Missile Defense should not be made because the technology has not demonstrated its readiness yet and, more importantly, because the design of the proposed defense makes it vulnerable to very simple countermeasures.
    Note: Student wrote this in 2000. Don't cite this page:
    Missile Defense - Sentence Outline -- Final Draft
    <http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~wilkins/writing/Handouts/vgs/missile-def-so-final.html>
    [Sunday, 17-Dec-2017 20:15:46 EST]
    Edited by: wilkins@mps.ohio-state.edu on Wednesday, 01-Apr-2009 10:02:53 EDT