Strategic Weapons: June 21, 2000

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The General Accounting Office (the investigative arm of Congress) has produced a report (not yet made public) citing problems with the National Missile Defense plan worked up by President Clinton. While the media has reported the GAO document as criticizing the system, it actually complains that the Administration has not done enough. It notes, for example, that because the 1972 ABM Treaty will not allow it to be tested against all kinds of targets, the Pentagon cannot be certain it will work. Technological uncertainties have greatly increased the chances for delays, and delays cost an extra $124 million per month. The intelligence community is not certain how fast rogue nations such as Iran or North Korea could refit their missiles with advanced decoys that would make the system useless.--Stephen V Cole

 


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