Strategic Weapons: November 28, 1999


A panel chaired by retired Air Force General Larry Welch has called the National Missile Defense program "unusually fragmented and confused". The report calls for a decision on deploying National Missile Defense to be delayed from the summer of 2000 for at least a year and preferably until 2003. (This would be good news for President Clinton, as it would eliminate the need for him to make a decision before the elections. Regardless of which decision he made, it would be bad for the chances of election for Vice President Gore.) The Welch report says that the contractor (Boeing) needs to solve management problems, buy more hardware, and test the system more rigorously. The report also notes that politically-mandated deadlines are in conflict with real program milestones, and that an informed decision cannot be made at the time Congress demanded. --Stephen V Cole

Indian Defense Minister Bachi Singh Rawat acknowledged for the first time on 6 Nov that India is developing a new long-range ballistic missile. The Surya (Sun) will have a range of up to 5,000km. The next day, the Indian government denied the existence of the Surya program, or any program to develop a missile of such great range.--Stephen V Cole


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