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from The Great Debate:

Israel’s Iron Dome is more like an iron sieve

An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket in Ashdod

Israel's vaunted Iron Dome defense system is more like an iron sieve. It fails to destroy all but a few of the rockets that Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups fire at Israeli communities. But Israel’s early-warning civil-defense systems have proved highly effective.

The radar-guided Iron Dome missile, meant to intercept and smash incoming rockets in the seconds before they strike their targets, works just a small fraction of the time, according to a detailed analysis carried out by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The study was funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Ploughshares Fund.

Ted Postol, a physicist at the university and an expert in missiles and missile defenses, has found evidence that only about 5 percent of Iron Dome engagements result in the targeted rocket being destroyed or even sufficiently damaged to disable its explosive warhead. In the other 95 percent of cases, the interceptor either misses entirely or just lightly damages the enemy munition, allowing the rocket's intact warhead to continue arcing toward the ground.

An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket in the southern Israeli city of AshdodPostol based his conclusion on a careful analysis of amateur videos and photos of Iron Dome interceptions over the past three years. He admitted that most of his data is from a previous round of fighting in 2012. "The data we have collected so far [for 2014], however, indicate the performance of Iron Dome has not markedly improved," Postol wrote on the website of the nonprofit Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

from The Great Debate:

Let’s end bogus missile defense testing

Immediately following the Fourth of July fireworks, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) tried out some fireworks of its own. By trying to hit a missile with a missile they attempted a demonstration of the defensive “shield,” designed to protect the U.S. from North Korean and Iranian nuclear missiles. It turned out to be a dud. As with the two previous attempts, the Ground Based Missile Defense system once again failed. This failure happened despite the fact that the demonstration was essentially rigged: the intercept team knew ahead of time when to expect the incoming missile and all its relevant flight parameters. Such luxury is obviously not available in real-life combat. But even if the $214 million “test” had worked it would not prove much.

Now some GOP hawks -- led by “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee -- are calling for more fake “testing” of the system. Their request should be denied as it would only throw more good money after bad.

from The Great Debate:

Why Russia won’t deal on NATO missile defense

President Barack Obama meets with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Mexico, June 18, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed

President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin are expected to discuss missile defense, their thorniest bilateral problem, at the G8 summit in Ireland on June 17 and 18. Previous talks between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have floundered over the alliance’s refusal to give Moscow legal guarantees that the system would not undermine Russian nuclear forces.

from Tales from the Trail:

The First Draft: Missile defense, Iran and value voters

President Barack Obama's decision to abandon a big, fixed-installation missile defense shield in Eastern Europe is drawing some angry reaction abroad.

Conservatives in Poland, where the Bush administration planned to base interceptor rockets, and the Czech Republic, where a radar installation was planned, accused Washington of buckling to Russian pressure.

from Tales from the Trail:

Do-over on missile defense — reading between the lines

President Barack Obama's new missile defense plan is an exercise in reading between the lines.

Does it signal a diminished threat from Iran if he is scrapping the Bush-era system that was to be based in Poland and the Czech Republic? Obama's plan would use missile interceptors based on ships.

from Tales from the Trail:

What’s the view? Obama’s “new approach” on missile defense

President Barack Obama used "new approach" a couple of times to describe a shift in U.S. missile defense policy, but his statement was so steeped in diplo-speak that it led to much initial head-scratching over what was actually new and different. OBAMA/

It was left to Defense Secretary Robert Gates to shoot down as "misinformed" raging speculation that the United States was scrapping missile defense in Europe. He said the United States would initially deploy ships equipped with missile interceptors to Europe.

from Tales from the Trail:

The First Draft: Obama scaling back European missile shield

President Barack Obama is abandoning a Bush administration plan to build a big, fixed U.S. missile defense in Eastern Europe.

The president announced the decision Thursday amid reports from Poland and the Czech Republic overnight that officials there had been informed about the final decision.

from Tales from the Trail:

The First Draft: Friday, Nov. 5

Detroit CEOs drive their hybrid cars over to the House of Representatives for another serving of humble pie this morning. But it's still not clear if they'll get the $34 billion bailout they're looking for, as several senators remained skeptical after yesterday's testimony on that side of the Capitol. 
     
Testimony before the House Financial Services Committee begins at 9:30 a.m. 

     
The last outstanding Senate race may finally reach a resolution today, as Minnesota could complete its recount in the contest between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken. 

from Global News Journal:

Russia’s Cold War anger over U.S. shield: misjudged?

Signing of missile defence treaty

Russia's angry response to an accord between Washington and Prague on building part of a U.S. missile defence shield in the Czech Republic is reminiscent of the rhetoric of the Cold War. Although Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says Moscow still wants talks on the missile shield, his Foreign Ministry has threatened a "military-technical" response if the shield is deployed.

That phrase could have come straight out of the Soviet lexicon and seems more at home in the second half of the last century than now. Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer called it psychological pressure to try to encourage opposition to the missile system among Europeans, and described it as "the same sort that was used in the 1980s by the Soviet Union when the United States deployed cruise missiles in Europe."

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