US nuclear safety claim is a 'dangerous fantasy'

London,Nov.1 (ANI): The Obama administration has reportedly adopted a new nuclear strategy that depends on the conclusion that the current missile defense systems will reliably protect the continental United States in the extreme circumstances of nuclear-armed combat.

However, research appearing in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which is published by SAGE, shows that these defenses have not been tested against real-world threats and would be ineffective in real combat conditions.

The April 2010 strategy relies on assumptions that the current US Ground-Based Missile Defense (GMD) and Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) systems will be reliable and robust in nuclear-armed combat.

It also asserts that the GMD system is currently protecting the continental United States from long-range nuclear-armed ballistic missiles that might be launched in the future from countries such as Iran and North Korea.

But the authors of the research-George Lewis and Theodore Postol -- argue that the US should replace the ineffective, untested, and unworkable GMD system with a defense that could reliably intercept Iranian and North Korean long-range ballistic missiles before they reach the United States, Northern and Western Europe, and Northern Russia.

They further add that the current GMD and SM-3 systems have fundamental flaws determined by the laws of physics that cannot be overcome, based on technology they both share.

These flaws, they claim, relate to their ability to accurately target the correct part of the target missile in flight.

They have cautioned the Pentagon not to rely exclusively on the fact that the nuclear defense systems will perform to near perfection, even when confronted by the overwhelming complexities and uncertainties of real combat against nuclear-armed ballistic missiles.

The authors are concerned that the Defense Department has shown no test-based evidence that these defense systems can ever work in combat, yet claims that the continental United States is already defended from missile attack, and that these systems are also an effective deterrent that can offset cuts to nuclear-strike forces.

"These claims are fantastical, audacious, and dangerous," says Lewis.

The proposed alternative, based on unmanned drones, would not require new technologies or science, the authors say.

It would be designed only to target long-range missile threats, replacing the GMD and SM-3 defense systems.

"The situation is urgent, as Iran is already demonstrating countermeasures in flight tests that would render both the GMD and SM-3 long-range missile defense systems ineffective," Lewis says.

He added: "If we, as a nation, refuse to confront the fact that our chosen defense system is not reliable, and if we fail to build a robust and reliable alternative system using existing technology, we will have only ourselves to blame if the continental United States suffers a catastrophe as a result of the successful delivery of a nuclear weapon by long-range ballistic missile." (ANI)

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