The Pentagon’s lead agency for missile defense has embarked on a plan to keep up with the evolving North Korean nuclear threat by developing a Next Generation Interceptor. Nothing wrong with that, except for this: most missile defense ideas don’t pan out, and yet the agency wants to stop upgrading the only system we already have that can actually intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles. This is a high-risk strategy driven more by budget constraints than common sense. We need a backup plan even as we reach for better protection, otherwise we could end up naked to nuclear aggression (or blackmail). The obvious solution is to keep improving the booster and kill vehicle on today’s Ground Based Interceptor until a next-generation successor becomes available. That might be much later than we suppose. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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