US Missile Defense Not Ready for Iran, N. Korea

NRC report calls for missile site in Northeast
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2012 10:59 AM CDT
Iran's armed forces fire a missile during war games in 2009.   (AP Photo/Mehr News Agency,Khosro Khaleghi)

(Newser) – America's missile defense system isn't enough to defend against the threat Iran or North Korea could pose in less than a decade, a report from scientists and military experts at the National Research Council finds. The panel's report says the current system is "very expensive and has limited effectiveness," and calls for new sensors and interceptor rockets and the construction of a new missile defense base in Maine or upstate New York, Reuters reports. The two existing bases are in Alaska and California.

The report finds fault with President Obama's strategy of focusing on defenses in Europe instead of the long-range defenses favored by George W. Bush, reports the New York Times. The defenses in place have "shortcomings that limit their effectiveness against even modestly improved threats," states the report. The panel's plan, it says, can be achieved with the current $10 billion in annual antimissile spending if measures like a $28 billion system of satellites should be scrapped. A former Pentagon honcho agreed with the report's findings, saying that the antimissile program now in place is geared toward "producing and fielding hardware" instead of actually defending against enemy missiles.

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