Missile Defense Defense

….The authors of the SM-3 study cited only tests involving unitary targets, and chose not to cite the five successful intercepts in six attempts against separating targets, which, because of their increased speed and small size, pose a much more challenging target for the SM-3 than a much larger unitary target missile. They also did not mention the fact the system is successfully intercepting targets much smaller than probable threat missiles on a routine basis, and have attained test scores that many other Defense Department programs aspire to attain.

I mention all this because my amigo Shane Deichman, who like Postol, is a physicist and a former scientific adviser for the DoD (Postol for the Chief of Naval Operations, Deichman for JFCOM) and is currently working at the National Missile Defense Agency, felt that the rebuttal scored a direct hit on Postol’s claims about the system tests ( which might explain why it did not get cited by the NYT, though in fairness, the Times did quote the agency spokesman). I trust Shane’s judgment but I’m not able to expound on it, so he is cordially invited to add any comments here that he might wish that might further the reader’s (and my own) understanding.

Comments are, of course, open to all.

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1 comment on this post.
  1. deichmans:

    Thanks Zen — if my iPhone Safari browser would allow me to enter text here, I would have replied much sooner.  (That iPhone inability must be part of the ongoing gunfight between Apple and Adobe….)

    I was really surprised at the "carte blanche" afforded to Postol and Lewis by the Gray Lady (and even moreso that David Sanger’s name was a by-line; he has proven to be far more impartial in the past).

    My personal opinion is that the rebuttals MDA sent to the Times were not easily folded into the article.  While Rick Lehner (MDA spokesman) gets several mentions, this piece just struck me as shoddy journalism by two correspondents who should know better.
    Also, Postol was an early critic (appropriately so) of the GULF WAR-era PATRIOT system, so he has demonstrated a modicum of credibility in missile defense.