Anti-Missile Systems Uncertainty Grows

By Wade Boese

The election of Barack Obama as the next U.S. president has triggered greater uncertainty about the future of U.S. anti-missile projects, particularly the disputed plan to deploy long-range systems in Europe despite strenuous Russian objections. Meanwhile, the Pentagon agency spearheading missile defense efforts recently underwent its own leadership change, and one of its more mature systems experienced two test failures. In its full-throttle pursuit of systems to protect against possible ballistic missile attacks, the Bush administration adopted a "spiral development" strategy. That approach entails fielding technologies, even if rudimentary, as soon as practical and then updating them incrementally. The general rationale was that to have something was better than nothing.

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