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August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘missile defense’

France Says ‘Everything On The Table’ in Nuclear Talks With Iran

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

The P5+1 group of world powers negotiating with Iran for a nuclear deal believes it’s “time to decide” once and for all; Iran, on the other hand, says there’s “no time limit” at all.

It is becoming increasingly clear that even if the U.S. delegation has endless patience, the European foreign ministers are beginning to lose theirs. After another round of marathon talks and a third blown deadline this week, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters in Vienna on Saturday, “Everything is on the table. It’s now time to decide.”

The newest deadline for talks between Iran and world powers led by the United States is this coming Monday, July 13.

But an Iranian official told the AFP news agency that talks could continue indefinitely if need be. “We have no time limit in order to reach a good deal,” said the senior Iranian official.

Of course, the definition of the term, “good deal” depends on who is doing the defining.

Negotiators have been arguing over how to implement the terms of the deal both sides have already agreed to. Those would require Iran to reduce the number of uranium enriching centrifuges from 19,000 to slightly more than 6,000. Tehran would also have to reduce its stocks of already enriched uranium from more than seven tonnes, to just 350 kilos (770 pounds.)

This would allegedly ensure that Iran could not acquire enough fissile material to build an atomic weapon – or at least, it would take at least a year to do so. Currently it is believed that Tehran could achieve that goal within just two to three months.

In addition, the two sides still cannot find common ground on the issue of spot inspections and access for United Nations inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to Iran’s nuclear military sites.

Iran is unwilling to budge on either point; and without those, world leaders are unwilling to relax the sanctions that have strangled the economy of the Islamic Republic.

In addition, Tehran insists all sanctions be relieved immediately, and refuses to allow the “snap back” clause that would re-impose those sanctions if Iran violates the terms of the deal.

For obvious reasons, none of the world powers has any interest in removing that clause. Iran has also insisted that a UN arms embargo previously in place also be lifted when a deal is reached – a new problem that could become the icing on any nuclear cake.

As Defense Secretary Ashton Carter explained during a meeting with Congress: “The reason we want to stop Iran from having an ICBM program is that the “I” in ICBM stands for “intercontinental” – which means having the capability of flying from Iran to the United States. We don’t want that,” he added. (The rest of the acronym: C-continental B-ballistic M-missile.)

Any ICBM loaded with a chemical, biological or nuclear warhead would present an existential threat to the United States as well as to Israel.

According to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Iran has conducted multiple successful space vehicle launches since 2008. Defense News reported in April 2015 that such technology could also serve as a test bed for the development of ICBM technology. According to the report, there is an overlap between producing space vehicles and ballistic missiles. It is suspected that Iran’s space program has been a cover for a military ballistic weapons program, in fact.

The U.S. already has two missile defense sites deployed to defend the country in California and Alaska respectively to protect against any limited long-range ballistic missile attack.

The MDA has also advised Washington to develop a third defense site on the East Coast to protect against missile threats “accidentally launched from Russia or China due to human error or intentionally fired from Iran or North Korea,” Defense News reported.

UPDATE: Iron Dome Intercepts Rocket in South

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

9:54 PM: Confirmed: One Iron Dome interception.
Report of rocket strike appears to be parts from the intercepted rocket that landed outside the city of Ashkelon.
No rocket hit in Ashkelon.

9:49 Unconfirmed: 1 Iron Dome interception near Ashkelon. Second rocket hit.

9:43 PM Local reporting hearing 2 explosions. 1 possible landing site (also unconfirmed).

9:38 PM Shavuah Tov. Multiple Rocket Alerts in south. Must be summer.
Updates to follow.

Israel Tests Rocket Propulsion System for Intercepting Missiles

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

The Defense Ministry Tuesday morning carried out a test of a new rocket propulsion system that probably is connected with missile interceptors.

Officials were mum on details other than to say, “The test was planned by the defense establishment long in advance, and was carried out as planned,”

It is known that a test of the Arrow 2 missile defense system last year did not make a direct hit on its target. An Arrow 3 anti-missile test in December was aborted because of a safety issue concerning the target missile.

The test also could be connected with the Jericho ballistic missile system, which can carry a nuclear warhead, Yediot Acharonot reported.

This morning’s test was carried out in central Israel, in view of motorists on the way to work.

Update: 2 Rockets Launched at Israel from Gaza

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

10:22 PM Walla reports that according to an IDF source, 3 rockets were launched. At this point they do not think it was Hamas who launched them.

10:16 pm No specific terrorist group in Gaza has yet claimed responsibility for the rockets.

9:55 PM Reminder from the IDF: If you hear the Red Alert siren or a rocket explosion, enter your bomb shelter and stay there for 10 minutes.

9:34 PM Rockets were launched from Beit Hanoun in Gaza.

9:30 PM (updated) First rocket landed near a town near Netivot and Sderot. The second rocket is believed to have fallen short and landed in Gaza, but that is not confirmed.

9:20 PM There is still confusion as to where the second rocket fell.

9:09 PM Channel 2 TV reports, 2 explosions near Merchavim region in the south. IDF on the way.

NO INJURIES REPORTED.

9:04pm As of this time, there are no reports of rocket landings in Southern Israel…or damage.. or Iron Dome…still waiting for confirmation.
Some unconfirmed reports of a muffled explosion. IDf is checking.

9:02 PM Not clear yet if the rockets are real, false alarms, or Hamas test rockets that came too close to Israel.

8:58pm Rocket alerts just went off along the Gaza border and central Negev.
A lot of alerts.

IDF Expects 1200 Daily Hezbollah Rockets in Next War

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

An assessment by the IDF Home Front Command expects the Iranian-supported Hezbollah to launch 1200 rockets a day, and hundreds of Israelis could die in then next war with Lebanon.

The IDF will also need to decide where to deploy their limited number of Iron Dome anti-rocket systems up north, deciding whether to protect population centers or strategic sites.

It is not known if the report considered what would happen if the IDF took a disproportional response against Hezbollah at the beginning of the war, instead of its current tactics of proportional responses and preemptive notifications, and if that strategy would result in fewer estimated rocket launches and Israeli casualties.

But if Israel did respond strongly, Beirut would be devastated.

Why Does the NY Times So Hate Missile Defense?

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

Recent news is that both North Korea and Pakistan have sought help in developing EMP weapons; Iran has launched its missile tests in an EMP mode. The U.S. could, for a small additional expense, protect the country from EMP and nuclear threats through the production of short and medium defense radars and interceptors, now available and in the U.S. inventory.

In nearly two thousand stories and editorials since President Reagan identified missile defense as a critical new capability needed for America’s security, the New York Times has rarely found anything positive to say about America’s first line of defense against enemy missiles.

In the past few weeks, editors of the New York Times continued, announcing their opposition to the newly considered East Coast missile defense site, and describing it as “unnecessary.” [June 4, “An Unnecessary Military Expense”]

Contrast this to how they report on other offensive missile developments by America’s enemies.

North Korean threats to launch offensive rockets at America and its allies, for example, are described as “puzzling” [May 21, 2013, “N Korea Launches Missiles for Third Straight Day”].

Russia’s possible sales of anti-ship missiles to Syria are described as an “indication of the depth of support” of Moscow for Damascus (May 17 “Russia Sends More Advanced Missiles to Aid Assad”).

Hezbollah threats to use rockets against Israel are carefully described as in “retaliation,” implying of course any attack would be Israel’s fault. [May 10, “Hezbollah Threatens Israel over Syria Strike”]

In short, offensive missile deployments by America’s adversaries enjoy whitewashed explanations, while American efforts to defend itself and its allies from these same threats come in only for criticism.

The same New York Times logic was especially on display in 2002. Times Editor Bill Keller argued then that if President Bush withdrew from the ABM treaty the possibility of more nuclear arms control in the future would be very low. He described US missile defenses as a search for an “unfettered” US security policy that sought to “neutralize the power of countries such as North Korea and Iran”, (as if this was a bad idea!)

Keller approvingly referenced a speech by Jack Mendelssohn of the Arms Control Association in which he said that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan could not be confronted unless the US had an effective missile defense, as Washington would “hesitate to come to the island’s aid because of Beijing’s nuclear weapons.”

Keller apparently is aghast that, if the US had a missile defense in place, America might actually defend Taiwan from invasion.

Keller claims the missile defense “schemers” [those supporting their deployment] just want to get into a war with China and might end up spurring an arms race as well.

Added to this is his claim that missile defense advocates are also “deceivers,” seeking secretly to end all arms control restraints on US nuclear weapons.

Is this actually how things turned out? Did arms control disappear as the US deployed protective missile defenses? Well, by the end of 2004, the Bush administration had deployed an initial series of missile defense interceptors against long range missiles, plus hundreds of short and medium range interceptors. To accomplish this, the US did have to jettison the ABM Treaty, which the Bush administration did in 2002.

At the same time, however, the US and Russia secured under the Moscow Treaty a collective reduction of 63% of US’s strategic deployed warheads, with both countries ending up with 2,200 deployed strategic nuclear warheads compared to the 6,000 allowed under the Start I treaty.

Progress on US-Russian arms control and US missile defense deployments continued. By the end of the decade, with the addition of the 2010 New Start Treaty, US deployed warheads fell to 1,550 while missile defense interceptors of all kinds rose to over 1,250. When allied forces are included, the number of defense interceptors, while the exact number is classified, probably exceeds 2,000.

Nuclear weapons down. Missile defense interceptors up.

What the New York Times concluded could never be accomplished had been in fact achieved. But the New York Times apparently never got the message.

During both the Clinton and Bush administrations, the growing capability of Iran missile forces eventually pushed NATO jointly to call for the deployment of better missile defenses.

The Bush administration secured agreement to deploy interceptors in Poland and complimentary radars in the Czech Republic.

Although nuclear weapons arms control had accelerated, simultaneously with the deployment of over 1000 defense interceptors, the New York Times continued to complain.

The Czech and Polish deployments, said the New York Times, would “anger Russia” [April 15, 2008]. A month later, an “expert analysis,” cautioned the Times, cast serious “doubt” on the capability of the proposed system [May 18, 2008].

The analysis of course turned out to be bogus. The two-stage interceptor being proposed for Poland worked and had been tested. The Czech-based radar was similarly qualified for the job.

The Russians ginned up media opposition to the NATO missile defense deal, and then used threats of nuclear-armed missile attacks to delay its deployment.

By the fall 2009, therefore, with a new administration, the Polish and Czech sites previously planned were abandoned by the new administration.

But ironically, new European alternative sites were suggested instead by the new American administration, such as Romania. And instead of a two-stage missile defense interceptor, it was proposed that a new land-based “version” of the Navy Standard Missile (SM) be developed and deployed at a new European site, but sometime after 2020. It became known as the fourth phase of the EPAA or European Phased Adaptive Approach, or SM-3 Block II-B, and was designed to deal with long-range Iranian rockets.

But even that plan eventually came unraveled. Following North Korea’s recent missile launch tests and its explosion of another nuclear device, the administration changed course again.

The fourth phase of the EPAA was redesigned, and in all likelihood cancelled. The Iranian missile threats to Europe appeared to no longer be taken seriously by the administration.

Instead, it was announced that 14 ground-based missile interceptors, originally scheduled for deployment in Alaska by the Bush administration (but cancelled in 2009), would in fact go forward, and provide some additional protection to the United States (but not NATO) from emerging missile threats from Iran and North Korea.

On March 15, trying to maintain its perfect record of hostility to missile defense, the New York Times, twisting itself, acknowledged that while the added West Coast deployment was indeed in response to North Korean “provocations,” such defense was probably not needed because even without any U.S. defenses, Pyongyang would “surely be destroyed” if it attacked the United States.

And, added the Times, such a defense response by the United States might give North Korea “the satisfaction of making the rest of the world jumpy.” (And we certainly could not have that!)

There are, however, bipartisan reasons why the Times is wrong.

As Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Congresswomen Yvette Clarke (D-NY) told a recent Capitol Hill conference, the missile threats emerging from Iran and North Korea now might very well involve an EMP nuclear device capable of rendering the U.S. electrical grid and infrastructure useless. Tens of millions of Americans would be at risk of dying, as two Congressional EMP Commissions had previously concluded in the last decade. These fears of former Director of Central Intelligence, Ambassador R. James Woolsey, echoed in a particularly passionate brief at the event.

Recent news is that both North Korea and Pakistan have sought help in developing EMP weapons; and we know Iran has launched its missile tests in an EMP mode.

Such threats could be launched from a missile at sea some hundreds of kilometers off of our coasts as well as from intercontinental distances. Such maritime threats—largely surreptitious—would be difficult to deter, as in all likelihood the adversary would be unidentifiable.

The U.S. could, however, for a modest additional expense, begin to protect the country from such maritime EMP and nuclear threats through the production of additional short and medium missile defense radars and interceptors, now available and in the US inventory. Upgrades in the future would probably be required as the threat worsened. But we could begin work now.

This could be part of a new phased East Coast missile defense site or system. Other threats, such as long range missiles from the Middle East, could be dealt with through the deployment on the East Coast of an advanced version of the current West Coast deployments, or a variant of the current sea-based BMD systems, including better sensors and kill vehicles or the final element of an interceptor that actually crashes into the incoming warhead.

Whether traditional nuclear or EMP nuclear threats, missiles have become the military technology of choice of both terror master nations and their terror group affiliates. Such threats may not be subject to the traditional notions of deterrence developed during the half century of the Cold War. Hamas, for example, late last year, launched more rockets on Israel than Nazi Germany launched in all of World War II. Israel defended itself with the deployment of the Iron Dome missile defense system, which was developed and put into place within just three years.

In short, real threats need real defenses. The “hope” of deterrence is not enough.

Can we build better defenses? Of course we can.

In Israel, the military made upgrades to the Iron Dome defense system even as it was engaging enemy rockets. Upwards of 85-90% of all targeted Hamas rockets were intercepted. Contrary to the same academic “experts” often cited by the New York Times, this missile defense system worked and worked very well. The intercepts were meticulously recorded and verified. When told of the key basis for the critics’ conclusion that Iron Dome hit only 15% of the targets—private cell phone pictures—a coterie of Pentagon civilian and military experts burst out laughing.

The US is now in partnership with Jerusalem to produce more Iron Dome batteries.

We should take our inspiration from Israel.

To defend the homeland and build better missile defenses simply follows our constitutional requirement to “provide for the common defense.”

Reagan’s Missile Defense Vision Derailed

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

If you went strictly by the mainstream media reporting on the Defense Department’s recent announcement about missile defense, the thought in your head would be “we’re deploying more interceptor missiles because of North Korea.”

What’s probably not in your head is the auxiliary details.  DOD has requested that funding for the additional deployments begin in fiscal year 2014.  The actual deployments won’t start until after that.  Assuming DOD gets the funding, it will take until 2017 for the interceptors to be in place.  And the deployment, if it happens, will do no more than provide the ground-based interceptor baseline that was originally planned by the Bush II administration (44 interceptors), a baseline the Obama administration cut back to its current level (30 interceptors) in April 2009.

To put the last point another way: if the Obama DOD hadn’t cancelled the remaining ground-based interceptor (GBI) deployments in 2009, the 14 additional interceptors would already be deployed.

That said, the utility of deploying the additional GBIs – which would raise the deployed total from 30 to 44 – can justifiably be questioned, if former Secretary Bob Gates was right in 2009, when he said the 30 GBIs in Alaska and California were enough:

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told senators that 30 ground-based interceptors “provide a strong defense” against “the level of [missile] capability that North Korea has now and is likely to have for some years to come.” The system is designed to defend the United States against intermediate- and long-range missiles in the middle range of flight.

The North Korean satellite launch in December 2012 didn’t change the profile of the North Korean threat; it merely validated the predicted type of threat against which the GBIs were originally deployed.  Frankly, the 30 GBIs we already have in their silos probably are enough.

They are if the threat we’re worried about is North Korea, at any rate.  What if it’s not?  Suppose the threat we’re really concerned about is China?  It’s an interesting point, given the lack of precision or clearly-stated strategic purpose behind, basically, any move the Obama administration makes on missile defense.

Cancelling the Atlantic-side Missile defense

Consider the decision announced by DOD at the same time as the GBI augmentation: that the U.S. will cancel the fourth and final phase of Obama’s missile defense plan for Europe.  The European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) is the new plan Obama ordered up in 2009 when he cancelled George W. Bush’s plan to deploy GBIs to Europe.

GBIs in Poland would have provided missile defense for North America as well as for Europe against threats coming westward from Asia.  In Bush’s original plan, the GBIs would have started going into Poland in 2013.  (The GBIs in Alaska and California defend North America against threats coming eastward from Asia, or – to some extent – against missiles from East Asia coming over the North Pole).

Obama’s replacement plan for the cancelled Bush deployments was to develop a new, ground-based mobile interceptor out of the Navy’s shorter-range SM-3 missile, and eventually to deploy a follow-on interceptor, called the SM-3 IIB, which would have “some capability” against ICBMs.  The projected time frame for this deployment was to be 2020-22, some 7-9 years after the GBI deployment in Poland was to have begun.

A key weakness of this approach, however, has been that, for the purposes of defending North America, the geometry isn’t workable for using a new-generation SM-3 interceptor in Europe against an intercontinental ballistic missile from South Asia or the Middle East.  In September 2012, the National Research Council published an assessment of the prospects for defending North America using the EPAA deployment concept, and concluded that the prospects aren’t good.  Obtaining the NRC report costs $62, but fortunately, Defense Industry Daily has summarized its findings as follows (scroll down at the link):

[The NRC assessment] states that EPAA Phase IV is not likely to be an effective way to defend the United States, and recommends that the USA make changes to its own GMD system and radar set. They’re not advocating the dismantling of EPAA, just saying that the USA should have a system in which EPAA is about Europe’s defense, and the USA has a system that doesn’t depend on it.

More on that in a moment.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/reagans-missile-defense-vision-derailed/2013/03/19/

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