Nuclear missile silo. (Courtesy of Flickr user Steve Jurvetson)
Never mind that no one is firing ICBMs at us. It’s been three decades since Ronald Reagan cooked up his cockamamie plan to shoot down missiles in the sky, and while technology has improved incalculably since then, after countless billions of dollars—according to The New York Times, it’s $250 billion—the damn things still don’t work.
Following recent testing failures, the director of the Missile Defense Agency told Congress today that he is committed to a full evaluation of the way forward for the nation’s ballistic missile defense system.
Of course, he added, the evaluation will cost money, too.
In a devastating commentary by a Reuters analyst, we learn that the test itself was “rigged” and scripted, that there were no countermeasures (as in real-life war), and that the test itself cost $214 million:
Immediately following the Fourth of July fireworks, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) tried out some fireworks of its own. By trying to hit a missile with a missile they attempted a demonstration of the defensive “shield,” designed to protect the U.S. from North Korean and Iranian nuclear missiles. It turned out to be a dud. As with the two previous attempts, the Ground Based Missile Defense system once again failed. This failure happened despite the fact that the demonstration was essentially rigged: the intercept team knew ahead of time when to expect the incoming missile and all its relevant flight parameters. Such luxury is obviously not available in real-life combat. But even if the $214 million “test” had worked it would not prove much.
Still, Buck McKeon, the Republican chairman of the House Armed Service Committee, wants more testing—more, more, more—and damn the expense. Of course, he blames President Obama for cuts in the program—certainly not the cause of the failure, but a convenient scapegoat. Says McKeon: