Tags: midway | missile defense | exoatmospheric kill vehicle

Watch 'Midway' and Root for Missile Defense

Watch 'Midway' and Root for Missile Defense
An unarmed Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Missile Defense Agency is expected to conduct a developmental flight test October 14, 2002, including a planned intercept of long-range ballistic missile target in support of Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) test program. (USAF/Getty Images)

Friday, 15 November 2019 02:52 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The movie "Midway" tells of a great American victory in World War II. But as you watch it, remember this: the outcome wasn’t preordained. Before an American dive bomber attack destroyed four Japanese carriers, an earlier dive bomber strike was a disaster for the U.S.

War is about having the right tools available, and deploying them when you need them. At Midway it was dive bombers. Today, one of those tools is missile defense.

For decades, the United States has been designing, testing, expanding, and deploying a robust missile defense system. The final line in that system is known as Ground-based Midcourse Defense, or GMD. It consists of dozens of interceptor missiles on American soil. Each is topped with an Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) that is designed to destroy an incoming missile while it is still in space, outside the atmosphere. That way, there’s no nuclear fallout to reach the Earth.

This isn’t an easy task, of course. It’s far better to use diplomacy and traditional military power (as the United States is doing, and has done for decades) to prevent war in the first place. But it’s especially important today, with the global reach of rogue regimes, to have missile defense in place. As retired Secretary of Defense James Mattis said this year, “we could be at war on the Korean peninsula, every time they start launching something.” We need to be able to contain that war and not let it reach our shores.

Unfortunately, some bureaucrats in the Pentagon are making a short-sighted decision that could reduce the effectiveness of our missile defense system. They started by calling it a strategic pause earlier this year, and it’s now turned into a complete halt to development of an updated EKV.

“Development programs sometimes encounter problems. After exercising due diligence, we decided the path we’re going down wouldn’t be fruitful, so we’re not going down that path anymore,” Mike Griffin, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, explained. “This decision supports our efforts to gain full value from every future taxpayer dollar spent on defense.”

But in reality, the decision may leave us without a final line of defense.

Missile defense programs require expensive technology and frequent testing. Through that process, the system develops, and we discover what works and what does not. As the nonpartisan CSIS put it in 2017, “Today’s capabilities have now matured from a kind of infancy, to initial defensive capabilities, to a kind of adolescence — but have far to go before they might be described as mature or robust.” By trying to skip a generation of technology, the Pentagon may end up preventing that technology from ever developing.

Of course, missile defense has survived other threats. The Obama administration wasn’t excited about the concept, and so tended to underfund the program without outright killing it off. Still, it’s at least a little ironic to see the Trump Defense Department following Obama’s footsteps and not George W. Bush’s (the real founder of modern missile defense).

In recent years, GMD was making real progress. “The U.S. has ‘successfully intercepted’ an intercontinental ballistic missile during the first test of its ground-based intercept system,” ABC News reported in 2017. It shot down an incoming missile fired from the Pacific Ocean. That test frightened all the right people; leaders in China and Russia were upset that the U.S. might not be as vulnerable to their offensive weapons. Those leaders may be smiling these days.

Nobody knows when war will break out, or who will launch it. Certainly, none of the pilots who won the battle at Midway would have guessed even a year earlier that they’d play such an important role. But they were ready when needed.

Our country needs a missile defense system that’s ready if we need it. Shutting this program down is the wrong step at a dangerous time. Lawmakers in Congress should swiftly act to reinstate funding for missile defense.

Steve Gruber is a conservative talk show host with 25 affiliates in Michigan. "The Steve Gruber Show" launched in 2012 with just four affiliates and has grown into the most powerful name in talk radio across Michigan. Steve has been named “Best Morning Personality” by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters five years in a row. His conservative, common-sense philosophy was developed during his time growing up in rural Michigan. Steve’s early career found him in several newsrooms including WILX, Lansing where he honed his investigative journalism and interviewing skills. He became the main news anchor of the station and before long was offered a job with NBC in Columbus, Ohio. While working for NBC, he covered the incredible launch of John Glenn, age 77, into space at Cape Canaveral, White Supremacists in Ohio, and the deadly game of selling prescription medication online. Steve was nominated for an Emmy in 2000. To read more of this reports — Click Here Now.

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The movie "Midway" tells of a great American victory in World War II. But as you watch it, remember this: the outcome wasn’t preordained.
midway, missile defense, exoatmospheric kill vehicle
Friday, 15 November 2019 02:52 PM
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