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US nuclear safety claim is a 'dangerous fantasy'
Date:10/31/2010

London, UK (November 1, 2010) In April 2010, the US government 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. Now research in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, published by SAGE, shows that these defenses have not been tested against real-world threats and would not be effective 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. This strategy 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. Making matters worse, the authors write, are the recent Iranian ballistic missile tests that indicate Iran is developing effective countermeasures that would defeat these US missile defenses. The authors conclude that the new US nuclear strategy is based on an alarming "technical myth" that GMD and SM-3 systems are proven and effective.

In their paper, How US strategic antimissile defense could be made to work, 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. The alternative defense would use stealth drones carrying specialized fast interceptors to take down the nuclear-armed long-range ballistic missiles while they are still in powered flight and before they can deploy effective countermeasures.

Since a drone-based system would use a relatively small number of interceptors, it would not threate
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Contact: Mithu Lucraft
mithu.lucraft@sagepub.co.uk
44-207-324-2223
SAGE Publications UK
Source:Eurekalert

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