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Inside the Ring
Critics of the Phased Adaptive Approach have said that without larger interceptors, Europe-based missile defenses will be unable to defend the eastern United States from a future long-range Iranian missile strike.
The science board study was ordered by Ashton B. Carter, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, in December 2009 to update an earlier report. The board was told to study whether the three SM-3 variants could be used to knock out a salvo of more than 30 missiles shortly after launch.
“Engaging ballistic missiles during this phase of the missile’s trajectory could provide some advantages leading to significantly increased cost effectiveness of missile defense,” Mr. Carter stated in a memorandum.
Types of attacks to be studied included intermediate-range missiles as well as a “clandestine sea-launched” missiles fired from a freighter, something Iran has practiced, the memo said.
Defense officials said the report is a final draft and still undergoing security review.
“It is our understanding that the final report will underscore the value and feasibility of early intercept technology and the need for the Precision Tracking Space System satellite architecture to optimize early intercept capabilities.”
A senior Republican senator plans to hold up the nomination of William J. Burns to be the deputy secretary of state because of the Obama administration’s delay in bolstering Taiwan’s defenses, Senate aides told Inside the Ring.
Sen. John Cornyn will use his authority to block a full Senate vote on the nomination of Mr. Burns, currently undersecretary of state for political affairs, until the administration approves new sales of F-16 jets to Taiwan. Specifically, the senator wants the State Department to inform Taiwan it will accept a formal letter of request from the Taiwan government to buy 66 new F-16s model C/Ds made by Lockheed Martin.
Additionally, the Texas Republican wants the Pentagon to turn over a long-delayed report to Congress that defense officials say highlights the growing air power imbalance between Taiwan’s air force and China’s military across the 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait. The report was due to Congress 16 months ago.
According to defense officials, both the F-16 sale and the air-power report are being blocked by White House National Security Council staff aide Evan Medeiros, who is part of a group of administration officials opposing the F-16 sale because they believe it will upset U.S.-China military exchanges.
A Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote on the Burns nomination is scheduled for Thursday morning, and once out of committee, Mr. Cornyn, a member of the Armed Services Committee, plans to place a hold on it.
State Department officials could not be reached for comment.
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About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
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