Is an east coast missle shield necessary?
May 21st, 2012
12:15 PM ET

Is an east coast missle shield necessary?

It’s amazing that a country without money can consider building a missile shield against a threat that doesn’t exist, writes Mark Thompson on Time's Battleland blog.

The House has approved a $643 billion defense-spending bill for 2013 that’s $3.7 billion more than the Obama Administration, and its Pentagon, is seeking. That’s just about the same amount the Congressional Budget Office estimates the House bill’s push for an East Coast missile shield will cost over the next five years.

As Thompson writes, while the U.S. has already invested billions building such a West Coast system against the threat of a North Korean missile attack, so why shouldn’t we build a mirror system on the other side of the country to protect its denizens from attack by the Iranians:

The missile-defense language calls for spending $100 million on an East Coast site in 2013, with a goal of having such a system in place by 2016. The Congressional Budget Office estimates such a system will cost $3.6 billion through 2017, but warns that the program’s cost is likely to go higher. The White House has said building such a site is “premature,” and it’s unlikely to win backing when the Senate considers its version of the defense authorization bill this week.

It’s the missile-defense mania that truly baffles. There seems to be a pathological need in some quarters of the nation’s politics to defend against attacks from far-off enemies, no matter how unlikely. They cite intelligence reports from agencies that have erred in the past, and take their predictions of doom as gospel. You can worst-case anything, and missile-defense advocates do.

Read more on Time's Battleland blog

soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. pee-wee

    Your gullible if you really believe the money is actually being spent on east coast missile defense...Its another solyndra....a way for hussein to get money into his campaign.

    May 23, 2012 at 6:55 am | Reply
  2. NJBob

    This project is a waste of scarce resources that we need for other more pressing things. Spending money on this is a crime against humanity. Shame on the US!

    May 22, 2012 at 1:57 am | Reply
  3. Michael

    Premature! Its 50 years late. Stop all the illegal wars of aggression anf build us an actual DEFENSE. Does anyone rember 9/11?

    May 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Reply
    • Cheese Wonton

      The last thirty years the RDT&E community went down an awful lot of blind alleys to get where we are today. Things like Brilliant Pebbles, SIBRS Low, and the YAL-1 airborn laser didn't work out as planned. THAAD almost didn't work either, but some hard work by the people at Rocketdyne and Edwards AFB made it happen.
      Now that the military has chased all the blind alleys to their logical conclusion, the US is working hard on what does seem to work. Standard SM-3 and THAAD are pretty effective against short and medium range ballistic missiles. Finding a warhead in space, and differentiating it from decoys (which by the way is doable now) took a long time to figure out. Don't sell those engineer short. Look behind the political curtain and you will see that despite the budet wars the public saw, the RDT&E community was plugging away hard all those years.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Reply
  4. Foresight

    Better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  5. obama folds under putin pressure

    obama folded under pressure from putin on missile defence in 2009 and stoped the missile shield in Polland , obama also folded on missile defence in four other nations , SO I GUESS PUTIN WILL ALLOW OBAMA TO PUT SOME ON AMERICAN SOIL !


    May 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Reply
    • Good for Vlad

      First off, it's 'Poland'. Second, Russia had, and has, every right to tell Amerika to go fuck itself. After all, if a foreign government proposed a similar scenario in either Canada or Mexico, Washington would (understandably) crap itself.

      Missile 'defense'. my ass.

      May 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Reply
      • sawolf

        It's russia who is arming the iranians who are now building hardened silos in venezuela and the insane mullahs need armageddon to bring back their 13 imam, lets not even mention their HEMP experiments, to take down our electrical power infrastructure. russians also enslaved the eastern half of europe with their command economy, and oppressive rule. Don't like our technological capability, match it if you can, your scientists are among the finest, what's the problem?

        May 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
      • Good for Vlad

        sawolf – you are so full of shit.................

        'Venezuelan silos'! Good fucking grief!

        May 21, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
      • Cheese Wonton

        Huh, and here I thought it was the Chinese and North Koreans building those silos in Venezuela. Silly me, lol.

        May 21, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
      • sawolf

        Nice to observe your complete lack of intelligence in assessing the threat to the USA. Take your head and remove it from your azz, the air is better. We will build the ABM system and if you don't like it you superfluous, irrelevant puke, too bad.

        May 21, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Cheese Wonton

      If the defensive missiles are on ships in international waters, as is the case, Mr. Putin can fume all he wants but there is absolutely nothing he can do short of starting a war with NATO that he would lose. Besides, the Russian military can't make good on the threat. They are a hollow shell.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Reply

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