Determination and Fortitude

January 18, 2005

Missile defense is too important to our lives and our future to be delayed. Testing, development, and deployment of the system must continue. There are just too many lives, too many communities, and too many cities to leave unprotected.

Testing is critical towards building and deploying an effective multi-layered robust missile defense system. Thousands of tests are successfully performed each year. The more the tests, the more that is learned, and the more that is learned, the more effective the system will be.

We applaud the determination of those that will test again next month, both with the ground-based interceptors and the sea-based interceptors. The key factor in these upcoming tests is the ability to learn, adjust, and forge ahead from the lessons of the past tests.

As we look back at the anomaly that prevented the interceptor from taking off last month in a ground-based missile test, we note that the communication process between the computer on board the interceptor, controlling a small part of the missile, and the computer on land receiving its specific messages had a small discrepancy in messages sent and received – causing an automatic shutdown. It turns out that these message communications are similar to our daily emails in that there is delay time between sending and receiving. In this case, the timing of the computer checking for messages was during the delay time of the communication transaction, similar to the moment a person hits send on an email and time before you receive it. Adjustments have now been made to take this delay into account.

In hindsight, if an interceptor failed to launch during a real scenario of ballistic missile attack towards our nation today, we would have quickly launched the next missile in the adjacent silo. This is a layered concept which increases the percentages of success by having multiple interceptors and why it so necessary to have more then the current 8 deployed missiles available in Alaska and California and to have sea, air, and other based missile defense systems developed and deployed.

We look forward to the fortitude of our government to continue with its tests and to declare operational an effective, deployed multi-layered missile defense system to protect our lives.

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