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  • Guest Blogger: Amb. Hank Cooper on New START's Missile Defense Limits

    Yesterday, Lieutenant General Patrick O’Reilly, director of the Missile Defense Agency, testified about New START before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “There are no limitations in the treaty that affect our plans for developing missile defense.”

    Problem is O’Reilly’s statement ignores the lessons of unintended consequences – or in this current case, I suspect “intended consequences.” The unaffected “plans” he mentioned are, as he also indicates, “current plans”, which do not include all or even the most effective possibilities for truly effective missile defenses…such as space-based defenses.

    For example, recall that the ABM Treaty was not supposed to limit our theater defenses—except that it did politically, as repeatedly illustrated by Paul Warnke’s testimony in the 1980s. As a former ACDA Director and SALT Negotiator, he repeatedly claimed that the limited Patriot improvements proposed by then-Sen. Dan Quayle (R-IN) (and supported by Ted Kennedy among others) would “violate the ABM Treaty” by enabling a limited ballistic missile defense, even though it clearly could not reasonably be covered by the Treaty. Warnke’s claim held more sway in the House which every year voted to zero out Quayle’s initiative. But the US Senate, kept allowing a half-funded improvement program to limp along which eventually ended up providing a limited (and untested I might add, because inadequate funding slowed development) capability barely in time to be used in the 1990 Gulf War.

    Thanks to the ABM Treaty there were only 2 or 3 Patriots available for testing when Saddam went into Kuwait on 2 August 1990. Most if not all Patriots fired during the Gulf War were produced because of a courageous decision to turn on the production lines, circumventing the normal acquisition process. The Patriot PM who made this courageous decision retired as a Colonel, by the way—proving once again that no good deed goes unpunished.

    And of course no research was permitted on space-based defenses after the ABM Treaty, until Ronald Reagan was prepared to take on the political naysayers in 1983. Even the Bush 43 administration, which most admirably showed political courage in withdrawing from the ABM Treaty, shrank from advocating even R&D on the most cost-effective way to build a truly effective global defense. We can expect that the negotiating record and/or coded/nuanced language in the “New START” Treaty will make life difficult for future leaders if they choose to build the most effective defenses.

    Ambassador Henry F. Cooper is former director of the Strategic Defense Initiative organization.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    2 Responses to Guest Blogger: Amb. Hank Cooper on New START's Missile Defense Limits

    1. Bryan, seattle says:

      National defense does not seem to be on the mind of the man that Americans put in charge. Given that fact and that in the enumerated powers act, the president's most pressing job is the security of the United states, I believe it is time to fire our dear leader. Impeach him and his little dog too!

      If you were to go to work and attempt a hostile takeover of the business for whom you work while leaving often to play golf, ignoring your job and refusing to do the position for which you were hired, you would be fired. Security would box your stuff up and have it waiting for you at the front door when you arrive in the morning.

      Now imagine that during that time, the automatic coffee machine went berzerk and you blocked all efforts to clean the mess or fix the machine. Just say while all this was going on, you replaced people from acquisitions and mergers with friends of yours from school and had them pilfer the company payroll. Then you sent messages from the company computer to all of the companies competition and told them the exact way in which you planned to compete with their business; how to stop your company; the passwords to the CEO's email accounts and the pass code to the front door. All the while, allowing people from off the street to come and go as they pleased without cause or reason. (And if we want to be more realistic..) While forcing employees to buy those people lunch.

      How long would you stay out of jail.

    2. Lynn Bryant DeSpain says:

      I have yet to find the dishonor or illegality or inhumanity in being the biggest, and the strongest, fore with it comes the added responsibility of a higher standard than you enemy.

      It is only within those we elect to office that any weakness in this belief will expose itself to misuse.

      Therefore, by being the Nation with the most capability of mass destruction, at any given moment, and keeping all of aour Citizens, who are qualified under the Law, armed, that "We the People" bear the responsibility of assuring that those we elect to office are capable of following the Laws set forth in our Constitution.

      Remember, all decision envolving this great Republic lie with its Citizens, not with those elected to office, for we have always retained the right to remove any Government that no longer represent the People Of the United States and Its Constitution.

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