The case for missile defense

The Bush administration says that North Korea is a threat justifying missile defense. The defense system is also a hedge against military surprise and intelligence failures.

"...the missile-defense system to be fielded next year and in 2005 will include a combination of ground-based missile interceptors, sea-based interceptors and Patriot PAC-3 systems, as well as sensors on land, sea and in space."

"The systems to be deployed for advanced missile defense include additional ground-based and sea-based interceptors, deployment of the Army's Theater High-Altitude Area Defense, and the Air Force's Airborne Laser systems.

"Missile defenses also will include 'a family of boost-phase and midcourse hit-to-kill interceptors based on sea-, air- and ground-based platforms,' the directive says. It also mentions enhanced sensors and the development and testing of space-based defenses."

"North Korea is a key reason Mr. Bush ordered the rushed deployment of missile defenses by next year. The first missile interceptor base is being built in Alaska as an emergency measure to blunt North Korea's threat of an attack."

Deployment of the system is expected to begin next year. This means time is not on the side of the North Koreans who are already making claims that they can hit US cities. Once that threat is taken away from them they become even more vulnerable to pressure to stope their weapons program. In addition, the removal of Iraq as a potential customer, along with the potential removal of Iran should make it more difficult for North Korea to play its blackmail game.

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