Mt. Rushmore: Three surveyors and some other guy.
Life goes on within you and without you. -Harrison
Hear the echoes of the centuries, Power isn't all that money buys. -Peart
After you learn quantum mechanics you're never really the same again. -Weinberg
Multiple Re-entry Vehicles are not complex, infact most are spoofs. One excellent spoof for high orbit is a mylar balloon with a eqiv to 60 watt heat source. Once the spoof is found out, ie as it re-enters the atmosphere, the real warhead's terminal dive is ridiculously fast, no chase kinetic warhead will catch it. As far as accuracy, it is a nuke not a J-Dam, no need to hit a window or air shaft, just get close enough to any city as the majority of civilians live in the surrounding communities anyway.
Cluster launch is another low tech way to saturate an area, the ship launched missile can't chase a ballistic missile across the Pacific Ocean, the intercept window is limited.
But again what nation, as it will take considerable resources to build, test, and arm such a missile will consider a gnat attack knowing full well the reciprocal fly swatter will end that nation as more than the world's night light?
1. As far as I know, this system is aimed at addressing a narrower issue (potential small-scale missile attack), not dramatically transforming the global balance of power by making larger nuclear arsenals e.g., Russia's, irrelevant.
2. The system is aimed at reducing the risk of a small-scale attack, not eliminating all risk.
3. If the system is effective, it will be more difficult--not impossible--for a rogue state to attack the U.S. or U.S. allies. The U.S. has the geographic depth to absorb the kind of attacks you describe. Although areas hit by such attacks would suffer catastrophic damage/casualties, national survival would not be threatened.
4. The logistics involved with the kinds of attacks you describe are not seamless. Arguably, missile attacks might be easier to pull off, as one doesn't have to worry about smuggling and assembly, all of which create opportunities for detection. Indeed, the complex logistics involved with such attacks have likely contributed to the lack of such attacks even with the widely-documented security flaws you described.
In short, far from seeking to transform the global balance of power, the system is intended to provide some additional insurance against a small-scale missile attack (intentional or accidental). Investing some resources in defensive capabilities, rather than relying strictly on offensive ones, gives the nation greater flexibility and enhances its security. Nothing the nation does can eliminate all risk.
Last edited by American; 05-12-12 at 08:42 AM.
"He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)
Missile attacks are the increasing threat (short range and long range), missiles are relatively cheap and that is what we have to design systems to defend against both for short range and long range missiles. Additionally, I have always found it somewhat sickening that if nuclear missiles were launched at the United States, there is very little we can do to defend ourselves. So an anti-missile shield would be a good thing.
It still amazes me sometimes how some people think. Yeah, I know, after all this time, it shoud not be surprising.
There are those that argue that the money is better spent elsewhere. However, no nation can survive for long without the ability to defend itself. America would in no way be worse off finacially or functionally if all of welfare and most, if not all, social programs are removed, it would be in very dire straits if all of Defence is removed.
Then there are the "it doesn't really work, so we shouldn't pursue it" crowd. There has never been nor will there ever be anything that works at 100% the first time it is tried. But, we know, that no matter what field you want to apply it to, that you cannot reach your goal without first starting down a path leading to it. Karl Benz was not sucessful the first time he tried to make an automobile. Robert Goddard was not sucessful the firsttime he tried to make a rocket. The Wright Bro. were not sucessful the firsttime they tried to fly an airplane. Etc... Where would the world be if these and others had simply said "it doesn't work" after earlier attempts and chose not to continue?
And there are the "we don't really need that crowd". It cost far more if we wait until we need it to even start to develope it. America, to date, has never entered a war that it was prepared to fight at the beginning of hostilities. Due to increased power, range and effectiveness of modern weapons, when the next big one starts, we very well may not have the time to ramp up to meet the challenge.
Any costs that increases our capabilites to be more accurate, better equiped, reduces the amount of time necessary to sucessfully win a war and increases the chances of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines will come home alive is beyond any reasonable doubt worth it. Especially when compared to something like Welfare. Every Senator and Congressman should vote on military projects as if it is their children's lives at stake.
We can greatly decrease our military costs, while maintaining capabilites and even increasing them, if we redo how the military is funded and how it is forced to do business.
"For what is Evil but Good-tortured by its own hunger and thirst?"
- Khalil Gibran