- - Tuesday, April 2, 2019


Ed Feulner’s Commentary piece on the success of a recent U.S. missile-defense system test expresses confidence in our capabilities in this important area of national security (“Another high-flying success for missile defense,” Web, April 1).

An interceptor fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base hit the target launched from Kwajalein Atoll, validating the effectiveness of our currently deployed Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System to destroy a long-range threat. The test actually employed two interceptors to increase the probability of destroying the target. This is the procedure that would be followed in an actual interception of a hostile attack.

While we share Mr. Feulner’s delight that yet another test has demonstrated we have some capability against a simple threat, we caution that other nations are developing far more complex systems, some of which might be transferred to North Korea.

Yes, we have made significant strides since President Reagan introduced SDI in 1983. But we are still a long way from meeting his objective of being a “free people [who] could live secure in the knowledge that their security did not rest on the threat of instant U.S. retaliation to deter … [an] attack.” Without space-based interceptors and their integration into a comprehensive defense system, we are still dependent on deterrence for our security.

Quoting defense expert Michaela Dodge, Mr. Feulner notes that we sometimes learn more from failure than success. We need to have the nerve to design more stressing missile-defense tests in order to evaluate the limits of our real capability.


Rockville, Md.


U.S. Army (retired)

Plano, Texas

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