Adapting U.S. Missile Defense for Future Threats: Russia, China and Modernizing the NMD Act, Hearing Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, One Hundred Thirteenth Congress, Second Session, July 23, 2014   [open pdf - 496KB]

This testimony compilation is from the July 23, 2014 hearing on "Adapting U.S. Missile Defense for Future Threats: Russia, China and Modernizing the NMD [National Missile Defense] Act," held before the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services. From the opening statement of Philip E. Coyle III: "In my opening remarks I want to describe why it would be unwise for the United States to pursue a missile defense against Russia and China. Here I'm referring to the strategic Intercontinental Ballistic Missile [ICBM] forces of those two countries. There are basically three important reasons. First, U.S. missile defenses, especially U.S. defenses against ICBMs can at best deal only with limited attacks, and even that goal remains a major technological challenge. All missile defense systems can be overwhelmed. All missile defense systems have limitations and those limitations can be exploited by the offense. By definition, it is only if the attack is limited that the defense can have a hope of not being overwhelmed. If the enemy also employs countermeasures such as stealth, radar jamming, decoys, and chaff, as Russia and China do, U.S. defenses are even more vulnerable. The technology simply is not in hand to deal with an all-out Russian or Chinese ICBM attack. The U.S. has experimented with many different ideas for decades hoping to find a way. A few examples are the nuclear-bomb pumped x-ray laser, 'Brilliant Pebbles' (a constellation of perhaps as many as 1,000 orbiting interceptors), and the Safeguard ABM [anti-ballistic missile] system deployed in North Dakota that the U.S. Congress canceled because Russian ICBMs could overwhelm it. These and other systems were canceled as unworkable, ineffective, or too costly as when Secretary of Defense Robert Gates ended the Airborne Laser program." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Phil Coyle, Robert G. Joseph, and James Woolsey.

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