The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Elliott Negin,Media Director,

Scientists Urge Obama to Drop European Missile Defense


A group of prominent scientists today released a joint letter
urging President Obama to issue a directive that the United States will
not deploy any part of the proposed U.S. missile defense system in
Europe before it is proven effective under real-world operating

Proceeding with deployment would result in large security, political
and financial costs, according to the scientists, many of whom have
served as government advisers on a range of military and security
issues. Ten of the letter's 20 signatories have won a Nobel Prize, 15
are members of the National Academy of Sciences, and seven are members
of the National Academy of Engineering.

Proposed by the Bush administration to defend against a potential
attack from Iran, the U.S. European missile defense system would
consist of 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a large radar in the
Czech Republic. The interceptors would use a kill vehicle and a
modified version of an interceptor booster fielded as part of the
Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system in Alaska and California.

"This technology has not been adequately tested and has no
demonstrated capability in a realistic attack scenario," the
scientists' letter states. "None of the GMD tests have included
realistic countermeasures or tumbling warheads. All flight intercept
tests have been conducted under highly scripted conditions with the
defense given advance information about the attack details."

The scientists also cite independent and U.S. government technical
analyses that conclude that "any country that could field a long-range
missile could also add decoys and other countermeasures to that missile
that would defeat a defense system like that being proposed for
Europe." As a result, they conclude that the planned system "would have
essentially no capability to defend against a real missile attack."

Organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the
scientists' letter was released a few days before a summit between
President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that runs from
July 6 to July 8 in Moscow. Russia has expressed strong opposition to a
U.S. missile defense system in Eastern Europe and has linked the
proposal to other issues that would require its cooperation. The Obama
administration is expected to announce its decision about deploying the
system in the next few weeks.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.