TCS Daily

Hit or Missile

By Austin Bay - August 28, 2006 12:00 AM

North Korea's July missile volley raised legitimate concern about American vulnerability to ballistic missile and cruise missile attack. Hezbollah's rocket barrage of Israel demonstrated that terrorist organizations (non-state actors) can acquire and use missile systems.

The next step, for both North Korea and Hezbollah, is adding a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) -- most likely a warhead carrying either nukes or nerve gas.

The longer-range rockets Hezbollah used (for example, Russian FROG-7 variants) can be classified as short-range or "battlefield" ballistic missiles. With range exceeding 100 hundred kilometers, these missiles can strike well beyond the frontline.

There is good news. The United States isn't completely vulnerable. It possesses a nascent, "thin shield" ballistic missile defense.

The defense consists of bits and pieces of tactical and theater-level anti-missile programs supported by a dozen or so long-range missiles positioned in Alaska and Hawaii.

This defense has layers. The Patriot PAC-3 is designed for short-range, "point-target defense. The Patriot PAC-3 is a completely different missile from the Gulf War's Patriot PAC-2. The PAC-2 was an "enhanced" and "upgraded" anti-aircraft missile. The PAC-3 is a genuine anti-ballistic missile (ABM).

The Army's THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Air Defense) missile and the Navy's Standard-2 and Standard-3 missiles extend the "anti-missile umbrella." The Navy systems are particularly useful. They can be deployed on Aegis cruisers and destroyers. The Navy systems can quickly place anti-missile firepower in the Persian Gulf (to thwart a shot from Iran) or the Sea of Japan (to intercept a North Korean launch).

The Standard-3 missile had a highly successful missile test in June. In a July test at the Army's White Sands range, a THAAD intercepted a SCUD-type ballistic missile.

The nascent defense, however, is an inadequate defense -- I don't think that's a debatable point.

Yet it is a defense in being and a defensive system in the process of expansion. Though limited and frail, it demonstrated political utility in July when North Korea launched its missile volley. What do I mean by that? Japan -- a threatened ally -- asked for Patriot PAC-3s to bolster its defense. The United States agreed to provide them.

We also have a new U.S.-Japanese missile monitoring station in Japan, activated earlier this year.

Our limited anti-missile system isn't what it should be or could be, and yes, myopic, wrong-headed politics played a key role in delaying program funding, testing and deployment.

The anti-ABM cant of certain influential major media -- in the case of The New York Times, a fossil of its 1980s opposition to the Reagan administration -- certainly hindered development.

Resistance from McGovernite Democrats was a potent and problematic factor in Washington. The Cold War's "balance of terror" strategy created a "strategic culture" wedded to the notion of "Mutual Assured Destruction" (appropriately named MAD). If the Soviets launched a missile strike against the United States, U.S. retaliatory capabilities ensured that Moscow would be turned to radioactive glass. An ABM, in the MAD minds, altered the certainty of mutual Armageddon. An ABM "destabilized" the ability to assure Moscow and Washington they would both perish in a nuclear exchange.

The rise of rogue states and fanatic, "suicide" terrorist organizations, combined with the proliferation of ballistic missiles and WMDs, turned MAD into utter madness.

A suicide bomber cannot be deterred by the threat of "mutual destruction."

Hezbollah's rocket rain offers a chilling example. Hezbollah demonstrated it is quite willing to sacrifice its own people and neighborhoods. Remember, Hezbollah is Iran's puppet, and Iran is led by a clique that believes the destruction of Israel will accelerate their version of apocalyptic end times. North Korea has already sacrificed its own people (via starvation) to finance its missile and nuclear programs.

In February 2003, I wrote a column titled, "The Hell Formula for the 21st Century." The formula: terrorists plus rogue states plus WMD. Breaking the Hell formula requires offensive action against terrorists and rogue states -- and we've taken that, in Iraq and Afghanistan. But I also wrote that "breaking down the Hell Formula will take time."

A more robust missile defense system buys time and blunts the political effects of "fear us" campaigns waged by North Korean and Iranian despots.

Austin Bay is a syndicated columnist and TCS Daily contributing writer.



The Best Defense
Improving defensive, detection and intelligence systems should be the top priority of the Defense, Homeland and Intelligence agencies. The goal is an evergreen effort to prevent attacks that could lead to a WMD response by the US. While diplomacy and offensive capability are necessary “defensive” tools, direct defensive capabilities are pivotal…and are currently far from the effectiveness existing threats portend.

Is that you, J.T.? -- Mazz

Two missile sites aren't sufficient
To provide an effective defense additional sites should be deployed to cover all possible arches of attacks. But its not enough to have a defensive capacity, it should be made clear that if a Islamo terrorist group luanches such an attack that retribution will follow against those states that sponsor or tolerate such groups, Biblical retribution.

Fall Into The Gap
US Navy To Double Aegis Missile Defenese Fleet
UPI, August 22, 2006

...A Pentagon assessment of the U.S. capability to defend the homeland against incoming enemy cruise missiles has found what it calls "CAPABILITY GAPS" that MAY NOT BE SOLVED UNTIL 2015, reported Aug 17.

As a result, the U.S. Air Force's directorate of operational capability requirements is leading a Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System study "to determine the best approaches for mitigating HIGH-RISK JOINT GAPS in the (Homeland Air and Cruise Missile Defense of North America) mission area," according to an Aug 9 request for information posted on Federal Business Opportunities, the report said.

Officials from the U.S. Army and Navy, the U.S. Air Force's Air Combat Command, the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command are also taking part, an Air Force official said according to the report.

In May, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council directed the Air Force to lead a so-called "Functional Solutions Analysis (FSA) for Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD)," to include the Homeland Air and Cruise Missile Defense of North America. The following month, the Air Force Requirements for Operational Capability Council approved the "FSA Study Plan," which included a "call for concepts" via an RFI, the Air Force official told Inside Missile Defense, said.

Pentagon and Missile Defense Agency officials increasingly are concerned by the threat of TERRORISTS USING A CARGO SHIP TO FIRE CRUISE OR BALASTIC MISSILES JUST OFF U.S. SHORES but outside its territorial waters.

According to the RFI released earlier this month, the "Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) FNA identified capability gaps in both proficiency and sufficiency out to the year 2015." The proposed Air Force JCIDS study will address nine of those gaps, said.

$1B for Israel-Lebanon border -- how much for U.S.?
Will THEL Live Again?
UPI, August 24, 2006

...All of Israel's vaunted in-depth anti-ballistic missile defenses turned out to be useless against the Katyusha threat. As a result, the Israelis are now looking to the United States to revive a promising but ambitious chemical laser weapon that was being developed against such threats but was abandoned less than a year ago.

...The THEL laser and radar system was designed to track up to 60 targets -- as small as mortar and artillery shells or rockets -- at a time and fire on and destroy these projectiles at a range of up to 3 miles, the report said. "THEL can destroy about a dozen targets a minute, at a cost of some $3,000 per shot. Each THEL system (radar and laser) could thus cover about 10 kilometers (6 miles) of border," it said.

...According to the report, the THEL system is remarkably cheap -- at least by the astronomical standards of BMD program development. "Northrop Grumman now says that it can have an anti-rocket system ready in 18 months, at a development cost of $400 million. Each anti-rocket system would cost about $50 million, and EIGHT OR NINE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO COVER THE LEBANESE BORDER. One or two could cover Gaza. Thus the total bill for just developing, building and installing the systems is about a billion dollars," the report said.

..."In more than 10 years of development, THEL had been funded to the tune of about $300 million, of which Israel had paid almost half," Arkin concluded. noted Aug 15 that senior Israeli artillery officers who favored THEL had argued that money spent on it would provide more benefit than billions of dollars spent on new jet fighters. "Earlier this year, the air force won that argument. But now the artillery generals are coming back for another round," said.

an additional benefit of the THEL system is base protection
The potential benefits of such a system for force and base protection would seem high enough to merit development at least to the point of taking a system to full field demonstration so as to fully evaluate it.

And - the defenders can enjoy quick broiled pigeon, goose or duck whenever the appropriate species of fowl is migrating, although the price per pound will be somewhat high at $3,000 per shot.

Biblical retribution is not sufficient
An eye for an eye only works if both sides equally value sight in the here and now.

An enemy which professes willingness to kill for merit in the next life must be made to understand that very many of them will get the benefit of early translation to the next life in exchange for each one of us whom they harm.

there's a difference in theatre and strategic missiles
perhaps you would look a little less like an ignorant ideolog if you spent the time to figure it out.

um...back at you
Who is J.T.?

I quite agree
I was thinking in the context of God's wrath for Soddom and what should be done to every Islamic city of over a million in a state that tolerates such groups. Though perhaps the population level should be dropped.

Its alive
The system is still under development but has several major disadvantages involving size, cost, and ability to provide adequate protection. Whether or not it can provide the kind of protection necessary against this type of threat is highly doubtful unless multiple sites were developed. In a cost benefit analysis it simply doesn't compute against this type of threat.

need pulse lasers
what is hold up with deploying these I wonder.

Coming Soon to a Theater near You
And where will be the theaters of war in the future? Perhaps Iran, which just so happens to share 800 miles of border with Iraq, and another 500 miles with Afghanistan?

At least we don't have to worry about terrorists using small to medium range missiles against U.S. coastal cities -- that kind of stuff only happens in Tom Clancy novels.

rhampton came close to admitting he screwed up
but at the last minute he swerved aside

Re: The Best Defense
I don't disagree with anything said, but I would add, "The best defense is a good offence and the will to use it when necessary."

I'd rather fight them "over there" than "over here".

A great way to spend our billions
Now if we only had an enemy capable of mounting a ballistic missile offense, we'd be all set.

The DPRK's entry into the sweepstakes a couple of months back was impressive, lasting forty seconds and travelling some 200 miles before plopping into the drink. But if they were to work out basing rights with the City of Vancouver they could probably plaster the heck out of the Seattle area.

Hezbollah's bottle rockets are somewhat less impressive. When compared to the distance from Lebanon to New York City, their best range of about 25 miles falls-- er-- short.

We need to spend money on this kind of junk like a fish needs a bicycle.

Context matters
"an eye for an eye" is referring to personal actions.

The admonition for dealing with evil societies was to the effect of "kill them all and let God sort them out!"

Roy would rather spend it on our tombstones
Evil, what evil goes Roy?

some of the ridiculous stuff in Clancy novels has already happened
There was an item today about Iran launching a missile from subsurface. If that checks out we will have to start giving them credit for more robust technology than we tend to.

It's not incredible to think that someone will mount a missile on a merchant ship, but why should they do that when they can apparently drive the ship right into a harbor without any problem?

Oh well, no one ever promised us a rose garden. We just assumed we could always live in one.

Gee who could afford to buy cruise missiles and a ship and train the entire crew?
I suppose Hamster is trying to tell us that the Girl Scoiuts are going to attack us?

Work needs to be done
The real holes in our defenses have been discussed for years-- so far without being addressed in any meaningful way. Among them are our failure to create a workable inspection system for cargo containers; a system for inspecting air cargo carried on passenger flights; and effective perimeter defenses for chemical plants, tank farms and refineries. Money spent in these areas would address our needs far more effectively than Star Wars against imaginary enemies.

Biggest Bang for the Buck
I was being sarcastic with my Tom Clancy comment. Like any faithful reader of the Jack Ryan series of novels knows, Tom Clancy's "Debt of Honor" (1994) predated the September 11 attacks by seven years.

[newly appointed Vice President Jack Ryan suddenly becomes President of the United States when the Capital buidling destroyed by a passenger jet in a suicide mission by America's enemies.]

"It's not incredible to think that someone will mount a missile on a merchant ship, but why should they do that when they can apparently drive the ship right into a harbor without any problem?"

Either scenario is plausible. In an off-shore incident, the attacker could destroy the vessel and his crew before being caught, making identification of the sponsoring nation difficult whereas a harbor requires a postitively identifed vessel to enter port.

Have You Forgotten bin Laden?
"Gee who could afford to buy cruise missiles and a ship and train the entire crew?"

I hear Osama bin Laden is a very wealthy fellow who is willing to fund terrorist strikes against the United States. Supposedly he's the son of royality with vast holdings in Saudi Arabian oil. Last I heard he was vacationing in Pakistan.

Gee I heard he was selling off London to the Saudis so he could buy Texas
So he'd have a place to park his harem. That's a good one Hammy. Got another?

Biggest would be Montreal or Toronto.
Right up the St. Lawrence, detonate the nuke on board the ship.

Poor, poor Roy... predictable, and so utterly stupid. Maybe Roy forgets that it took the US many tries to get a functioning missle. And maybe Roy doesn't understand that failure leads to fixes which will, eventually, lead to a working missile. And maybe Roy doesn't realize that Iran has had more success in its missile technology (or that Iran is helping North Korea). But in reality, Roy does not care. He just has to bash anything that might protect that evil land, the USofA.

Roy would rather we wait until North Korea can actually mount a nuke on a missle that can strike the US. Then, Roy will whine that "the Bush administration did nothing to address that threat" as he cries out for more talk and capitulation to the terrorist states.

I just thank God that Roy is a nothing more than an impotent hack for the left. People like him, if they ever took power, would lead this country to its doom.


a co worker at home with a pulled achilles tendon. His e-mail address is "tbon..." I wondered if you were actually him, thus his initials "J.T."

Guess not.

I was...
a Girl Scout for a while.

That's how I got my Merit Badge in Covert Operations...

I would hope that we have active and passive sonar on our major harbors
sailing a submerged sub into a harbor should be treated as an aggressive act until proven otherwise.
Depth charge until they surface, or sink.

$3.6 billion increase
in 2005's DHS/BP budget. Includes money for sensors, UAV's, but might have cut some agents. I can't find any budget numbers for 2005 or 2006.

Yea, small potatoes, huh?

NK's last test was more successfull
And there next test will probably be even more so.

You seem to assume that since they haven't developed ballistic missiles by now, that they can't.

Once they have the technology, they will sell it to anyone with the money to buy. That's what they have already done with their previous generations of missiles.

The thing with missile defense, is it takes a lot longer to build it, than it does to build missiles. If we wait until after the enemy has built missiles to even start, then we waited too long.

we would have more than enough money for all forms of defense
if we weren't wasting so much of it on welfare.

I repaired and produced lasers for 7 years.

The technology isn't quite there yet. Maintaining a beam on a fixed point on a moving target that could also be coated with laser resistant ceramics in a light scattering atmosphere... almost impossible. In space, it could be easier, but the window of opportunity will be slim.

Plus, there is size, reliability and power supply issues with a laser big enough to punch holes in things.

with the standard proviso's
I was watching a show on the military channel that was talking about future weapons.

They showed a clip of a laser destroying an incoming artillery round.

I doubt the round had any special protections.

the biggest problem...
Is the reliability and durability. Unless you are setting up a fixed emplacement, you have to make a power supply that will run off of vehicle batteries and be totally portable.

As mentioned before, it won't be a streach for the enemies to adapt and make ceramic coated arty rounds.

I suspect
that coating artillery shells with ceramics would increase their costs dramatically.

Actually, no
First you have to ask yourself what would be the DPRK's motive in initiating a nuclear attack against the US. Even assuming that they finally, after many many tries, get a Taepodong sufficiently able to lob a nuke into downtown Anchorage, don't they know the US has a nuclear stockpile and a delivery capability fully capable of plowing up every square mile of North Korean real estate?

Work being done by the North on their nuclear and missile programs would appear to be purely defensive in nature. They are obviously hoping for a deterrent capability against a strong and belligerent actor-- the United States.

You have to use your head when figuring these things out. Your gut alone just doesn't do the job.

That's right Roy remember Pearl Harbor?
Its your kind of thinking that caused Americans to believe that the Japanese weren't a threat. Now you sing the same song again.

That sums it up
That, in a nutshell, is the difference between you and me. I think we would have enough money to allow all Americans to share in a general prosperity, if we didn't waste so much on hostile actions that only make more enemies for us.

To each according to his needs goes Roy
Watch your pocketbooks Commissar Roy wants your property for the greater good. Nothing says loving like the Commissar with your bank account.

you notice how roy shows his compasion with other people's money.

roy thinks it is up to govt to decide who gets what
Americans already share in our general prosperity. They share based on what they put in. You think people should be paid just for breathing.

We haven't done anything that has created more enemies. Those who hate us today, have hated us for centuries.

try blackmail.
It's the strategy the little gargoyle has been following successfully for a decade or so.

I also like the way that in roy's world, the only evil is the US. Everyone else, regardless of what they do, is just reacting to us.

"You have to use your head when figuring these things out. Your gut alone just doesn't do the job."

That's funny coming from roy. He's the guy who told us that when the data is conflicted, he let's his gut decide who's right.

But you don't understand
The US was preventing the downtrodden Japanese from creating their own empire, as was their right as living breathing, non-US humans.

The Japanese had no choice but to attack us in order to stop us from interfering with their desires to unite all of Asia against the evil plans of the US.

more roy insanity
over in the "Cane Mutiny" thread, roy is trying to claim that Mann's hockey stick is alive and well, and has never been successfully challenged by anybody.

Sorry I forgot under Roy's view of reality the Japanese were justified in attacking Pearl Harbor
As you emntioned they were only seeking to free Asia from the running dogs of Wall Street.

Actually I think Roy is one of those people who donate their used underwear to charity
To prove that they care for the poor while demanding Big Brother take over half your salary for "the people." Whenever I hear anyone sing that line I always like to see where they live.

No Subject
"Its your kind of thinking that caused Americans to believe that the Japanese weren't a threat. Now you sing the same song again."

Please tell us which nation currently has a navy and air force comparable to the Japanese Imperial Forces, plus the intention of challenging us to do battle.

how big was Bin Laden's navy?

How big was Hitler's army and navy in 1935?
It was small enough that Belgium could have defeated Germany, without help.

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