For Immediate Release
Aaron Huertas, 202-331-5458
Obama Administration Makes the Right Decision to Scrap Missile Defense in Eastern Europe, Science Group Says
But Decision to Deploy Aegis System Not Supported by Technical Realities
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - President
Obama's announcement today that his administration is scrapping plans
to deploy a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic was
seen as a "victory for common sense" by experts at the Union of
Concerned Scientists (UCS). As noted by leading scientists in a letter to the president (pdf) in July, the missile defense system slated for Eastern Europe "has not been proven and does not merit deployment. It would offer little or no defensive capability, even in principle."
Below is a statement by Dr. David Wright, a physicist and co-director of UCS's Global Security Program:
"The decision to scrap plans to deploy a missile defense system in Eastern Europe makes sense for a number of reasons. First, the system wouldn't have stopped a missile attack. The interceptors the U.S. planned to use in Poland and the Czech Republic
have not been tested, and they could readily be defeated by decoys and
other countermeasures that any country with the capability of
developing a long-range missile could use.
"Second, the decision will strengthen U.S. security by bolstering our frayed relations with Russia, whose concerns about the system were based on an exaggerated view of its capabilities against Russia's
nuclear arsenal. Today's decision will help secure Russian assistance
in dealing with potential Iranian threats, as well as their cooperation
on cutting U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals.
the decision to deploy the Aegis SM-3 defense system against
shorter-range missiles does not square with technical realities. While
the Aegis interceptor has done well in recent tests, it has not been
tested under real-world conditions that would show that it would
actually work. Like U.S.
ground-based interceptors, the Aegis system operates in the vacuum of
space, making it vulnerable to simple countermeasures like balloon
"Finally, Marine Corps General James Cartwright, at a Pentagon press conference today, said that the United States faces 'thinking' adversaries. Those adversaries will certainly be thinking about deploying decoys."
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.