For the past three years the Claremont Institute has studied the ballistic missile threat to the United States and has argued for building a national missile defense as soon as possible. This has helped inspire a debate in America over whether and how a missile defense should be deployed. This debate is going to heat up in the coming months as we near the November election. It is important to put this debate in perspective.
Proponents of building a missile defense argue that Communist North Korea will soon have a missile that could strike the mainland United States or threaten U.S. troops in the Far East. They also argue that both Russia and Communist China pose serious threats to U.S. security today. These facts are supported by the unanimous findings of two major bi-partisan congressional committees. Proponents say we have two alternatives: Build a national missile defense or be subject to nuclear attack or nuclear blackmail.
Opponents of missile defense argue that the threat is overblown — that North Korea or China or Russia would never use their nuclear weapons because they know the United States could obliterate them. And they argue that ballistic missile defense is not technologically feasible. On the scientific issue they point to the failed tests of ground-based interceptors, the most recent occurring on July 7.
On our website, missilethreat.com, we explain the issues surrounding missile defense and offer some explanation as to why nations such as North Korea, China, or Russia may not be deterred from nuclear attack and may in fact be using their nuclear arsenal to undermine U.S. interests abroad.
In the coming months, we will be producing a major report on the science of missile defense, co-authored by Dr. Angelo Codevilla, a Claremont Institute senior fellow and former member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, with contributions from leading missile-defense scientists.
Until then, we invite you to read a recent article by Dr. Codevilla on the recent test failure of the ground-based interceptor. Many in the press would have you believe that the recent failure shows that missile defense is not possible. Dr. Codevilla explains how the component of the system that failed was a feature of rocket science perfected over 40 years ago. As he points out, the failure was akin to buying a new car, getting home, and the car door not opening. The failure was due, in the end, to gross negligence, the kind that would not be possible if the current administration was serious about building a national missile defense. Dr. Codevilla also points to how to build a more effective missile defense than the one currently being proposed.
I would encourage you to read Dr. Codevilla's article, "Missile Defense: The Hard Way"