Dear Members and Friends,
As our nation mourns and remembers the devastating terrorist attack on the United States homeland eleven years ago today, the National Academy of Sciences, through the National Research Council and with the support of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), released a new missile defense report that details the protection of the United States of America from ballistic missiles. The report was required by the United States Congress, 2009 National Defense Authorization Act. This report provides extensive detailed research, analysis, and technical scientific data that has been collected over many years by a non-partisan, non political, and non bias committee of our nation’s most expert scientists, engineers, academia, retired military, and former defense industry members in this specific area of study. The National Academy of Science requires that all findings must be of the consensus of all members of the committee. The findings of this report can be summarized into three major conclusions;
1. The current homeland defense plan, which consists of the ground based missile defense system (GMD ) augmented by early intercept capabilities from Europe, is very expensive and has limited effectiveness.
2. The committee recommends a United States East Coast Missile Defense Site, with operational capability in 2019, in terms of effectiveness and cost over the Obama Administration’s plan of Phase IV of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA). The EPAA Phase IV includes a proposed Poland based SM3-IIB interceptor which is designed to provide an additional defense for the United States Homeland in 2021.
3. The committee dissuades against the Precision Tracking Satellite System (PTSS) which is a key element of the current Administration’s (EPAA) as the committee states that PTSS costs four times as much to acquire and four to five times as much, over its 20 year life cycle, as the current land based X-Band Radar System recommended while the PTSS offers less value.
The report is 240 pages and goes through much detail while arriving at the council’s recommendations. As the premise of U.S. Homeland Defense is moving away from a salvo shot doctrine of launching a multitude of 60 to 80 million dollar interceptors against one incoming ICBM towards lowering the cost and efficiency, by reducing the shot doctrine to a look shoot look before shooting again capability, that lowers the single unit cost of the system, increases the reliability, and its discrimination capability. The study suggests increasing battle engagement time is key and infers that the current GBI system has limited effectiveness and a new GBI missile is warranted with more velocity and shorter burn time located in the Eastern United States with a new kill vehicle carrying a much more extensive seeker that would provide long distance retrieval and assessment of discriminating the incoming ballistic warhead from far distances providing more assurance to intercept as well as to provide the second shot interceptor missile better targeting information. The report infers that the SM-3 Block IIB missile of the EPAA is still considered a paper missile, whether it is 22 or 27 inch missile, that is not needed for the protection of Europe and could still be over flown by ICBMs and discourages against reworking the Navy’s Aegis vertical launch system to fit the new missile.
The study suggests the movement of the overall missile defense architecture away from the boost phase capability due to the required high speeds and location of ground and sea based missile defense assets and does not see the value of air based platforms that would have to provide security during peacetime without flying over enemy airspace with Korea being the exception. Thereby a reliance develops for Midcourse and Terminal Missile Defense systems that provides more time to access, discriminate, and have a shoot look shoot doctrine that increases efficiency.
The National Academy of Sciences are regularly tasked by the United States Congress to provide studies on substantial areas of concern and their recommendations raise important critical issues that need to be further investigated by members of Congress and the Department of Defense. This study was originally slated as a Boost Phase Missile Defense Study which was slightly adjusted when President Obama took office and boost phase systems such as the Air Bourne Laser and the Kinetic Energy Interceptor were terminated. The merit of the study focuses on the configuration analysis of where the United States is heading in missile defense. The report is enclosed below for your review and analysis.
National Research Council Report
We offer our prayers, condolences, and moments of silence to all of those who suffered and lost their lives on September 11th , 2001.