Ground-based interceptor missile at Fort Greeley, AK. 36 such interceptors are based in silos in California and Alaska. For the recent test the interceptor was fired from Vandenburg AFB, CA.
We're expected to believe that the Pentagon completed a successful interception of a target ICBM yesterday, "for the first time". In the words of correspondent David Martin on CBS this morning:
"Since North Korea has said it is finishing work on an intercontinental ballistic missile, this was an important demonstration that the U.S. has the capability, at least under test conditions, to shoot down an incoming ICBM."
Note that I have highlighted the key words, "under test conditions". What were those conditions? Or, more accurately, the primary "test condition"? Martin doesn't say and neither do any other mainstream media sources. We're all simply led to believe the completion of this test was, according to the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, that "the kill vehicle intercepted and destroyed the target in a direct collision". In other words, like a bullet hitting another bullet.
Well, not quite - more like a bullet hitting another bullet loaded with a sensor.
In this case, the interceptor missile fired from Vandenburg was carrying a global positioning satellite beacon that guided the kill vehicle toward it. In other words, this illustrious test was rigged and certainly not fooling anyone - especially the N. Koreans. A $244 m test three years in the planning, if you can believe it.
As far back as July 14, 2001, the Pentagon confirmed the role of the GPS beacon device in missile tests for Defense Week magazine. But then, as now, the 'Defense Week' scoop was ignored by the mainstream media. Why? Why aren't we allowed to know the truth that none of these missile tests are true demonstrations of an ICBM kill?
Instead, we're led to accept we'll be safe if the North Koreans fire an A-bomb Mirved missile at us, never mind their missile won't have any target giveaway "beacons" on them.
In the case of the initial revelation 16 years ago, Reuters was the only news agency that got wind of the 'Defense Week' story and revealed the fix. The wire service quoted a Pentagon official who "conceded that real warheads in an attack would not carry such helpful beacons". Gee thanks much, Roscoe! I'm sure I'll sleep better at night now.
Additionally, another aspect the mainstream press seldom mentions. is that in the case of an actual attack by a sophisticated enemy multiple decoys would be deployed to fool sensors.
The worst part isn't the "missile defense" rigging, but that others may bite and think it is feasible and a very REAL threat. This is the point made by Wolfgang Panofsky in his monograph, Particles and Policy, Chapter 'Mad vs. Nuts') wherein he observes that any U.S. missile defense system - practical or otherwise- will spur numerous counter measures and fully offensive nuclear systems. THIS is the stark danger we face.
The ultimate effect being to massively destabilize the nuclear balance. Panofsky himself believed that missile shields and the like were basically 'white elephants' from the get go because the physical problem of intercepting a ballistic missile is literally like hitting a bullet with another bullet - or essentially highly improbable.. He was strongly convinced a better plan was to work toward mutual reduction in missile forces with monitoring to ensure compliance.
Fortunately for us, most serious estimates put the North Koreans at least five years from having a nuclear warhead deliverable ICBM - and I will look at this in more detail in a future post. If that is so, then our illustrious defenders at least have some time to get their act together and complete a genuine intercept test - minus the GPS satellite beacon. One truly hopes they can do it.