A New Approach for Missile Defense

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
September 21, 2009
Missilie Test Fire by Iranian Armed Forces

Secretary Clinton's op-ed, "The New System Offers a Real Missile Defense," appeared in the Financial Times today. Secretary Clinton wrote:

Last Wednesday, President Barack Obama approved the recommendations of his entire national security team to deploy a stronger and more comprehensive missile defense system in Europe. This decision came after a lengthy and in-depth review of our assessment of the threat posed by Iran’s ballistic missile program, and the technology that we have to confront it. And it is a decision that will leave America stronger, and more capable of defending our troops, our interests, and our allies.

With the president’s decision, we will deploy missile defense sooner than the previous program, so that we will be able swiftly to counter the threat posed by Iran’s short and medium-range ballistic missiles.

We will deploy missile defense that is more comprehensive than the previous program, with more interceptors in more places, and a better capacity to protect all of our friends and allies in the region. We will deploy technology that is actually proven so that we do not waste time or taxpayer money, and we will preserve the flexibility to adjust our approach to the threat as it evolves.

This is a stronger and smarter approach than the previous program. It does what missile defense is actually supposed to do – it defends America and our allies.

We are not “shelving” missile defense. We are enhancing our capacity to protect our interests and our allies. We are not walking away from our allies but are deploying a system that enhances allied security, advances our co-operation with Nato, and actually places more resources in more countries.

Two of those allies are Poland and the Czech Republic, and we deeply appreciate their willingness to host parts of the previously planned system. We will continue to co-operate closely with both nations and both will have the opportunity to be closely involved with missile defense. I want to underscore that we are bound together by our common commitment as Nato allies, and also by deep historical, economic, and cultural ties that will never be broken.

For 60 years, the Nato alliance has been a force for peace, prosperity and security in Europe and around the world because of the commitment to collective security embodied in Article V of its charter: An attack on one ally is an attack on all. An attack on London or Warsaw is an attack on New York or Washington. Nato demonstrated this commitment after the September 11 terrorist attacks, when for the first time, the alliance invoked Article V and Nato sent assets to the U.S. to help protect us from additional terrorist attacks.

Finally, let me reiterate what the president said last Wednesday: This decision was not about Russia; it was about Iran and the threat that its ballistic missile programmes continue to pose. And because of this decision, we will be in a far stronger position to deal with that threat, and to do so with technology that works.

While we pursue this new path, we will make clear our readiness to engage Iran and focus its leaders on a clear choice: whether to join the international community as a responsible member or to continue down a path to further isolation.

But the security of our allies and our forces cannot wait. That is why we are moving ahead with a new approach for missile defense.



Missouri, USA
September 20, 2009

Steven in Missouri writes:

I truly hope that a 1+ Billion Dollar Cut in U.S. Defense will not leave us open to possible invasion.

Suggestion: To bolster Homeland Security; (As the USAFA/CAP was added into Homeland Security by way of the USAF under President Bush; If the Dept of Defense would reactivate all former inlisted's & retired Officers of ALL Branches, from the age of 20 - 65 yrs, by way of developing an e-mail registration along with all names, current land/region address, e-mail address, & phone number; Then, reactivating armories in all Counties, in all States by Region #, then requiring all frmr inlisted & Officers to do an E-mail chk in once bi-monthly, and a physical walk in at their designated County Armory once every six months; then to "sweeten the pot" for all frmr's who sign in as "Neutral Readies"; Each would receive a % write off on their annual taxes as well as a garrantee % discount for themselves & their children on annual educational enrollments at any college or university of their choice. Those frmr Actives, currently [or at any future date] whom become unemployed; Any new employer which hires them, would receive a % corporate/business tax deduction benefit.

BY doing the above, the U.S. Dept of Defense would be able to immediately have at the ready, an additional million+ U.S. Land Based, previously trained, & experienced troop force to immediately locate & draw from, should the main continental U.S & Alaska be threatened with invasion. In addition: By being able to have the above, the U.S. Dept of Defense would also have experienced personnel at the near-ready whom have held various levels of command/lead training, as well as those in ALL areas of training experience, to call up in an invasion danger period. As well; For the sake of budgets, ALL such Personnel, {Near Ready Frmr Actives} could be listed as members of the 50 State's National Guards. Those personnel aged 55 & above could be used as assigned "Ready-Call" Training Readiness Personnel, to be "Mentor's" in their frmr trained experienced areas, to help train younger should there be an immediate threat to National Security by way of threatened invasion, or, homeland terrorist attack/distrubances.

Virginia, USA
September 20, 2009

Donald in Virginia writes:

This is to make people think about the what if's...

This new wonderful plan should include fail points. If a country decided to attack the United States, like Iran, Russia, North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, there has to be a recourse for the American people. We all know from past history how successful FEMA is when dealing with Hurricanes. Shall we say unsuccesful at being able to evacuate people from towns and cities across our country.

Let me be bold because, if we as a Nation were ever attacked with a Nuclear Device, first responders would get the call. The training or lack of equipment could hinder the ability or even the mobility for Guard units to handle mass casaulties. 60 - 80 miles from the explosion radiation dispensing destroying livestock, people and villages spraying down a bio hazzard of radiation in the millions of degrees, would put our country at risk from a take-over by other countries delivering the device.

Think back to 1945, the United States used a fixed wing aircraft that delivered the Atomic weapons two major cities in Japan. Destroyed the cities, the amount of destruction and hundreds of thousands of lives vanished off the face of the earth.

We all assume in the 21th Century it will be rockets, missiles that would deliver the Atomic weapons, but let's not lose focus on other means a country can attempt to destroy without the use of a missile or a rocket. If you place all your eggs in one basket, and something happens, what do you have? (Example: Terrorists might try using a dirty device)

The bigger point trying to express is, the United States better ensure it has evacuation routes, First Responders with proper MOPP Level Equipment and training to handle Alfa, Beta and Radiological particals. Being able to detect bio weapons. Mustard Gas and other forms of bio weapons that could pose the biggest threat against our people. Knowing how to setup Decontamination stations around the country. Having bunkers and shelters, hospitals and ambulances (EMT's Parametics) serving the public, ensuring they too have the equipment needed to help anyone who is experiencing radiation poisoning, or other forms of deadly chemicals in the air. Law Enforcement having the equipment as well to survive this disaster. Knowing the medication that would be given to victims during this crisis. You think the swine flu is bad? The exposure of skin burns, dealing with lack of oxygen, and other more serious symptoms of vomitting and loss of life. Makes swine flu look like a joke. This is serious and should be taken with caution. How can people in our country the public deal and have a chance at survival? The Federal Communications Commission will no doubt put out a broadcast indicating the emergency on all stations. The people itself should have in mind what they can do, how they can adapt to the environment and gain a better knowlege to protect themselves and their family. Guard members will be deployed but also keep in mind they will have the Mopp equipment, the public will not.

Fire Fighters use two basic types of equipment. Bunker gear to protect them in fires, silver suites are for higher temps. There are Mopp Level trained units in our country but will it be enough to handle mass destruction on a large scale in a city?

Quarantines and the mobile bio teams will arrive setting up perimeters around the infected areas. Which means if your in the area most likely you would be treated directly.

Keep in mind the explosure to skin, covering up the entire skin on the human body is critical. Using gas masks and breathing is also important for people. Knowing the contents of the canisters which use the element of charcoal to filter out all the bad chemicals. This element should be a key ingredient in everyone's household to help them evade and survive a bio hazzard situation. Rain suites, Rubber Suites and Charcoal canisters, some will most likely have to improvise during this type of emergency if they don't have all the proper equipment.

Across our country Governors and policies need to be in place to ensure the plan for evacuating people the public for any type of an emergency including Nuclear, Biological, and Chemicals. People need to be informed of what to do, where to go, how they will survive this type of explosion.

Wind will also play a factor on where the radiation or chemicals dispurse. My suggestion to anyone that might experience this form of gas, chemicals or even Radiation, find out the wind direction before heading straight into the storm. Ensure you have stocked up on water, sealed, canned goods, can openers, basic food, water and a means to depart the area if need be. Those who dismiss the idea that it could never happen, should think again, it could happen, the question will be is, "Are you ready"? do you have a plan?

United States
September 20, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

The decision makes sense when one considers that attack missiles can be fired from any submarine, cargo ship, or country, not only from Iran but from other locations as well.

A land-based interceptor missile would have been obsolete by the time it was completed. A mobile interceptor missile system could be quickly reconfigured to handle threats from any direction.

It would be nice if the East European contingent would do some thinking and stop whining about it. Mobile technology is superior to fixed-base technology.

Syrian P.
September 21, 2009

SNP in Syria writes:

The worst decision the U.S. can make now, is to cut the defense spending. There are a lot of crazy rulers out there, the worlds over, not just the Middle East. They may appear to be tame & lame today, but who knows when hey will wake up with a bad hair day and act crazy like Saddam. How many terrorists can you count in the Middle East today, Hamas alone is over 30,000 strong and Hezbollah can muster in upward of 100,000 suicidal with one plea for volunteers speech from a Shia leader. Islamic Iran can raise 20 million volunteers in less than a week, martyrs who will gladly go unto sacrificing their life. Can someone guesstimate how many potential terrorists there maybe in the next 50-250 years?

The U.S. is grossly under spending on defense right now, its stockpile of current weapons and defense systems are literally obsolete, worthless trash. In a real world combat situation, not as the case been for the past 20 years bombing civilian's tent and cave dwellers to shock and awe helplessness, The U.S. could easily face defeat or have to quickly resort to nuclear weapon.

It is imperatives that the U.S. acquires more up-to date defense systems and immediately should increases its spending on defense systems not less that an additional 18 Trillion Dollars annually to quickly fill the deficient gap in its armament. Not only that, it should increase defense cooperation with many countries that surrounds such hostile regimes mentioned here by other commenter's. For example, in the case of aid to Israel, it is almost negligible amount in today's money, it must be increased to that of a reasonable amount, say additional 1 Trillion Dollars annually, at the minimum.

It is absolutely imperative that the U.S. starts developing and deploying effective systems right now, and Secretary Clinton announcement is but a blessing for those that care about good vs. evil, freedom vs. tyranny. What the world will be otherwise, it will fill of corruption and oppression should the U.S. be weakened. God Bless America.

New Jersey, USA
September 21, 2009

Rosemary in New Jersey writes:

Dear Secretary Clinton,

Thank you for a brilliantly reasoned, clear, succinct explanation of this new plan which makes eminently more sense than the previous one put forth by the Bush Administration.


Love you,


September 21, 2009

Edite in Canada writes:

The first five paragraphs of this e-mail say the same thing with minor variations. It implies the defensiveness with which the "old" program" was shelved. Another broken promise to strategic and willing allies.

President Obama's words, just before the election, were reiterated exactly the same way in answer to a question about what had been promised to Poland and the Czech Republic regarding an anti-ballistic missile defense program as well as a radar tracking station to be put in place. He underscored that these two promises would be a priority in defense of Central and Eastern Europe and the Eastern seaboard of the USA. Who strong-armed him to change his promised position between then and now?

It now appears that the reason he reduced military spending that involved scratching these promises to Poland and the Czech Republic was to additionally add money to the coffers of his Obamacare program and other radical elements of his administration like his unnessary, unvetted czars of any programs he could come up with. Payback time for services rendered? It would be interesting to note and to publicly release the cost of these czars to the American people. His administration seems to be forgetting that they are elected to serve the people of America, not dictate to them and impose upon them programs they do not want.

Presidents, who make and break promises on a continuum in many fields of endeavour, lose the trust of the people in their spoken or written words. Just like Russia, North Korea or Iran, we cannot believe a word they say and should not.

How many election promises will be broken by President Obama?

It seems that every morning the President comes up with something new the electorate did not ask for or want.

Florida, USA
September 21, 2009

Susan in Florida writes:

All the comments, so far, are very thoughtful. It is certainly wise to be prepared for what may happen one day. However, my concern is that we all are discussing this topic as if nuclear devices are our only defense, and that eventually one will be used. Maybe even sooner than we had originally thought. That is very, very frightening.

Tennessee, USA
September 21, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

1. Gates considers this plan the most intelligent solution and there are few with a better overview of the last decade than he. We are fortunate he answered his call back to duty; not much more be said that has not already been said by all.

Have we all been lulled into some moronic view that a WMD, which can already transcend any border and in numbers which cannot limit totality, is normal view of defense?

The problem lies in an instable world right now.

In the beginning Poland and the Chec. Republic did not want them on their borders. The finical support mechanisms and new consideration due to the aggressive action of Russia on Georgian borders suddenly altered their view; yet, they are still very much dependent on Russia....Having any number of WMDs will not make any difference because if Russia ran into either country with ground troops, as in Georgia, the only thing they would become is a liability as neither country can defend itself against such an attack and who would authorize a launch that would lead to a International situation we are all trying to avoid?

We have moved forward and not backwards with tactical defenses. The development of new weapons in defense and definition of attack make mobility a more viable solution, but we do need to keep a watch on Europe and their fiscal relation to Russia.

Our best plan for Europe is an economic one, not weapons.

Virginia, USA
September 21, 2009

Milan in Virginia writes:

Madam Secretary,

This is excellent plan and it will be very effective...

United States
September 21, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

The point of the missile shield was supposed to be defense from nuclear attack, not job creation or other consideration.

If a better defense system can be built, then we should build it. If a better location exists, we should go for it. If that creates better relations with Russia, it creates better relations for us also.

The existence of a missile shield would mean that an enemy will try some other method of attack, none of them nice, such as bioweapon introduction into the population using vaccines, infected tourists, or imported food, among other ideas.

The best defense is to have as few enemies as possible and to convert as many enemies into friends as we can.

The way to do that is to return to a true, constitutional government that prides itself on neutrality, impartiality, sovereignty, and fairness, and abandon the idea of a global government controlling the entire population of the world.

New York, USA
September 22, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Flip the Photo....

Flip the photo of the missle launch and you see a mushroom cloud. That's the endgame on our nuclear weapons program. Take out the 3 nuclear sites in Iran. Don't wait for the cloud.

Puerto Rico
September 22, 2009

Ilia in Puerto Rico writes:

There are good reasons for believing that bullying nations like Iran poses a serious threat. They play havoc with a growing regional instability. United States and the Intenational Community should seek greater transparency about the issue in order to de-escalate any nuclear crisis.

Those friendly nations should intensified sanctions to any country that does not comply with non- proliferation policies. The proliferation of nuclear weapons of those aggressive nations should be stopped. They are dangerous for the world. Definitely, they do not have peaceful intentions. They should be deterred.

New Mexico, USA
September 22, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

So, here we are eight years on in the war on terror (if you're counting from 9/11), but according to those who have attacked us, the war started long before when they declared it upon us.

In response to the 2001-2 Nuclear Posture Review, I wrote a very long letter to senior officials and senators in the hopes it would lend perspective and inspire solutions.

With every passing year, the things I said then and the heat I took after it was published by the DOE have not only proven their worth, but have proved worth the hassle to utter them.

This brief excerpt from "Isotope Road", being a case in point:

"If there are to be trillions spent on the development of the missile defense system, rather than dealing with the reasons for its need in the first place, then we've missed the point that was so rudely made, that a terrorist will use whatever is conveniently available as a weapon."

The problem as I see it isn't with delivery systems or technology to counter them. Nor even WMD or proliferation, per se.

The problem lies in the intent and actions of those like Iran's leadership, who opperate the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism, and it is the individuals who pose the risk to many, not the weapons they threaten many folks with.

Best missile defense ever invented assures they never get launched to begin with. It's called "Regime Change".

Until we get our targeting parameters strait, we'll simply be doing a litte dance around the problem without adequately addressing it with a permanent solution to resolve the threats posed by terrorists and their sponsors.

And that leaves populations vulnerable, regardless of how many interceptors are deployed.

The strategies we used in the cold war to isolate the Soviet Union, and an ideology that was based on an economic model of Utopia ( which enslaved people in actuality), do not work with the same results on a militaristic regime with a religious ideology that is not subject to economic realities or normal meathods of persuasion, nor able to shed the failed ideology in favor of greater prosperity and freedom for their people.
( thus creating the conditions whereby sanctions prove themselves in fruitless persuit of "behavior change".)

One may draw loose comparison with the internal unrest in Iran and the Gdansk shipyard strikes which historians are awant to point to as, "the beggining of the end" for the Soviet empire.

"International concerns" being what they are, I'd not wish to play up, or play down the threat posed to international peace and security if division exists between the p-5 in "the how to" aspects of ending the threat, and ending what some experts have called, "a generational struggle" sooner, rather than later. Let me just say that it should be factored into people's thinking at the UNGA.

Nor should any lame-brained military action to "take out" Iran's nuclear facilities be contemplated that leaves the regime intact with a retaliatory capacity.

Again, wrong targeting parameters = undesirable results.

When it comes to it (and unless Iran does backflips to get in folk's good graces, it probably will.), military action on an international cooperative level between the p-5 (and others) standing together to remove the regime from power via force of arms and diplomacy combined is the only viable way to achive an end to the threats posed, and ultimately create conditions of lasting stability in the region and the world at large.

Thing is, like scientific discovery may answer one question, the dicovery often raises many more,; Solving this problem will pose other problems in the process of resolution that will need to be solved as well.

We've done this twice in the last eight years and the U.S. may do "nation building" better than anyone else, but we just weren't geared up to do it properly up to this point, and we're still trying to get it right.

"Third time's the charm" , as the saying goes.

New York, USA
September 22, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Missile Defense is Indefensible.....

Given the multitude of current global threats facing us and the complexities and costs of addressing so many of them; it seems indefensible to pay for an anti-missile program, when the removal of missiles is possible right now. The security of us all is an immediate responsibility and within our grasp. Didn't JFK say something about "ashes in our mouths..."?


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