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1 Political Atheist  Thu, Apr 11, 2013 2:47:38pm

It’s a good Page, I have a bone to pick with the article though. Well maybe two.

First if a critic wants to argue about decoys, I do get it with Russia and China maybe. Plus they have a lot of warheads to overwhelm our system. But NK with a crude atomic warhead & a nearly untested missile would then be able to add decoys? Seems to me the most doubtful thing of all.

We have far more tests of our interceptors than NK has of it’s longest range rockets. Say our interceptors work half the time. Send 3. I suspect they communicate so the follow on warheads can correct for the first. In any case we have a lot ready to go. it’s true they are not really production reliable EKV’s they were R&D versions. But the next gen of EKV is coming.

Many of the critics want us to not have a system at all. because it might not work. Excuse me but how well will nothing at all work?

2 Dark_Falcon  Thu, Apr 11, 2013 7:45:13pm

re: #1 Political Atheist

It’s a good Page, I have a bone to pick with the article though. Well maybe two.

First if a critic wants to argue about decoys, I do get it with Russia and China maybe. Plus they have a lot of warheads to overwhelm our system. But NK with a crude atomic warhead & a nearly untested missile would then be able to add decoys? Seems to me the most doubtful thing of all.

We have far more tests of our interceptors than NK has of it’s longest range rockets. Say our interceptors work half the time. Send 3. I suspect they communicate so the follow on warheads can correct for the first. In any case we have a lot ready to go. it’s true they are not really production reliable EKV’s they were R&D versions. But the next gen of EKV is coming.

Many of the critics want us to not have a system at all. because it might not work. Excuse me but how well will nothing at all work?

They also ignore the need for such systems to evolve. The problems posed in destroying a ballistic missile warhead in the terminal phase are great. Even as he proposed such defenses 30 years ago, Ronald Reagan acknowledged that solving those problems was likely to be the work of decades.

3 Glenn Beck's Grand Unifying Theory of Obdicut  Fri, Apr 12, 2013 5:17:22am

Nah, we wouldn’t be able to shoot it down, but that’s okay, because they wouldn’t be able to hit us, either.

4 Glenn Beck's Grand Unifying Theory of Obdicut  Fri, Apr 12, 2013 5:27:07am

re: #1 Political Atheist

Our interceptors work 1/2 the time under ideal conditions when the path of the missile is known and the design of the missile is known. And decoys aren’t really that hard, you just stuff a couple of completely dummy warheads in the missile too. The idea that North Korea could manage to make nuclear warheads but is too dumb to figure out how to make dummy warheads is kinda weird.

Greely is an entirely untested site. Expecting an untested site to have a success on the first try is optimistic, to say the least.

However, all this goes the same for North Korea. Putting the dummy warheads on the missile— or just achieving the same effect by having us unable to recognize the separation in the descent— is all well and good, but they have to aim and target the missile over thousands of miles, going out of atmosphere and back into it. The fuel mix has to be precisely right, etc. etc. They might be able to hit ‘Alaska’ in general. The warhead might or might not explode. It’s still friggin’ scary, and it will get scarier in the future, but for right now it’s not panic panic time for the US.

Their ability to nuke Japan is something I’m more worried about. That is a much shorter distance using missiles they have far more practice with.

But I am still more worried about him simply launching a conventional war against South Korea, and feeding his citizens into the meat grinder.

5 Political Atheist  Fri, Apr 12, 2013 6:44:08am

re: #4 Glenn Beck’s Grand Unifying Theory of Obdicut

Our interceptors work 1/2 the time under ideal conditions when the path of the missile is known and the design of the missile is known. And decoys aren’t really that hard, you just stuff a couple of completely dummy warheads in the missile too. The idea that North Korea could manage to make nuclear warheads but is too dumb to figure out how to make dummy warheads is kinda weird.

Greely is an entirely untested site. Expecting an untested site to have a success on the first try is optimistic, to say the least.

We do know the flight path within seconds. We do know quite a bit about the rockets they do use. Thanks in part to Intel, in part to derivative designs, and the fact we bought numerous rockets from Warsaw pact forces and used them in tests of our own.


I did ask a man I know who used to work on US rocket systems. Delta program. What he explained is that each and every additional feature is hard to “close” or stay within stable flight parameters. The dummy warheads would need to have some way to deploy and disperse and all that adds weight that is hard to deal with in an already marginal or at best nascent system. It’s not a question of too dumb. It’s more a question of how far along you are in evolving designs and flight testing. Have we heard words of dummy warheads in any tests so far? Nope. What will never work is “just stuffing in” anything. Aerospace is far too demanding for some ad hoc addition of weight and complexity.

Did you note I said “send 3”? Okay send 4. Or six. Or eight. We can do that several times out of Greeley. Why trained professionals in one place are assumed to be incompetent & unable when the same training and equipment has resulted in astonishing successes (hitting a warhead at all) is obviously a critics speculation. The systems are getting better. A point the critics rarely even notice let alone admit.

What answer do you have for the relative effectiveness of having nothing in place to stop those missiles in flight? I prefer a fighting chance that does not point to first strike aka preemptive options. Which do you prefer?

I have a thought experiment for you & any BMD skeptic. Say a launch of one or two missiles happens. One fails outright. Say one gets intercepted by either the Navy or Greeley. Then we find the air is radioactive, we destroyed a nuke in flight. Compare our Presidents best options in that scenario to a successful hit anywhere. Then ponder which scenario is worth working toward despite the difficulty and expense.

6 Glenn Beck's Grand Unifying Theory of Obdicut  Fri, Apr 12, 2013 7:31:39am

re: #5 Political Atheist

What answer do you have for the relative effectiveness of having nothing in place to stop those missiles in flight? I prefer a fighting chance that does not point to first strike aka preemptive options. Which do you prefer?

First of all, that’s a false dichotomy. Those aren’t our only options. Second of all— the cost really does matter. The billions and billions and billions we’ve spent on these systems, systems that may not work if the day ever comes that a nuke is launched at us, that definitely will not work if a multitude of nukes is launched at us— that money may all be wasted.

The systems are getting better. We can now, just about, have a moderate to middling chance of success of intercepting the absolutely rock-bottom in missile technology, created by a completely broke state with a crippled scientific and engineering culture. There is no reason, absolutely no reason, to believe we will stay ahead of the technology curve on this even vs. North Korea, because intercept systems are so much goddamn harder to develop than systems that will defeat the interceptors.

In regards to the dummy warheads, sure, they are an added level of complexity, and as I said, I doubt the North Koreans will even be able to hit Alaska, and if they do, they’re not going to hit anything important. I’m not touting North Korea’s capability, but when our missile defense is based on the idea that whoever’s shooting at us won’t use a certain technique— that blows. In addition, as I said, the separation on its own functions as a dummy warhead, if you don’t know cold the separation profile. And we don’t.

Still, this might possibly be the apex of the missile defense program. In the ‘best’ scenario, North Korea fires a single nuke with a missile that we correctly guess the separation profile of, and an untested site that has never fired an interceptor successfully launches multiple interceptors at the same time (which is far, far, far more complex than launching one) and we manage to take out a nuke that would have otherwise hit Anchorage. In that one, slim scenario case, the money spent on the program would be worth it for this one moment. There is a much higher chance that the money has been wasted, the billions and billions and billions spent over the years, money that could have been spent saving American lives in a million other ways, has been completely wasted.

With the same amount of money, how many hungry people could be fed, how many people could get medication they desperately need, how many people could be educated? The system is never going to protect against a significant nuclear exchange, it has no chance against a submarine-borne nuke, it has no chance against a nuke carried in a cargo ship. The only possible protection it gives us is against an incompetent and insane regime that’s technologically crippled.

And I don’t think the guys who work on missile intercept are incompetent in the least. I just think what they’re trying to do is incredibly hard.

And I hate the false optimism given by the missile defense idea.

7 Political Atheist  Fri, Apr 12, 2013 8:11:09am

re: #6 Glenn Beck’s Grand Unifying Theory of Obdicut

As I see it a lot of the false optimism comes from the critics. The part from the proponents comes from the description of what you will (or think you will) be able to do after your development program. Sure that is always optimistic by nature. But the critics play up the inability to do what even those guys do not claim it will do-Defend against a swarm of warheads.

Each and every expensive aerospace / military program gets caught in the “what if we feed the poor instead” argument. About that supposed false dichotomy you mentioned…? Is this not another case of multiple options? I’d like to know what options we have besides BMD in the case of an actual launch against us or our allies. Or why or ability to stop a limited attack is not a further deterrence against such an attack.

We are not at the apex of missile defense. We are at the beginning. The replacement for kinetic defenses is energy beam, or lasers of some kind. Also in it’s infancy. But then look at the infancy of aerospace and see where we are now. Unless they get rail gun warheads to guide somehow. That stuff is what is years away. So are sophisticated ICBM’s from rogue states.

Have you noticed this is the second topic in which we seem to disagree on the “fighting chance” at defense? Twice now I’m more in favor of the fighting chance tools being available when you oppose them mostly. That’s an interesting peek at a difference in our world views.

BBL

8 Glenn Beck's Grand Unifying Theory of Obdicut  Fri, Apr 12, 2013 8:41:12am

re: #7 Political Atheist

We are not at the apex of missile defense. We are at the beginning. The replacement for kinetic defenses is energy beam, or lasers of some kind. Also in it’s infancy. But then look at the infancy of aerospace and see where we are now. Unless they get rail gun warheads to guide somehow. That stuff is what is years away. So are sophisticated ICBM’s from rogue states.

This is my point, though. We’re at the apex in comparative missile defense: right now, after having spent billions and billions of dollars, we, the most militarily advanced country on the planet by a massive margin, have a very iffy chance to defend against a single missile from one of the most backwards military powers.

Countermeasures to our interceptors will always be easier to design than designing interceptors will be. In order for interceptors to work, we also need to have near-perfect knowledge of what’s coming at us.

Each and every expensive aerospace / military program gets caught in the “what if we feed the poor instead” argument. About that supposed false dichotomy you mentioned…?

What about it? If you spend money on one thing, you really can’t spend money on another thing. If you want us to spend more money in general, to raise taxes to pay for the missile defense program, then sure, it becomes a false dichotomy. But the money has already been spent, up till now, and it’s been spent on missile defense instead of on other things.

Have you noticed this is the second topic in which we seem to disagree on the “fighting chance” at defense? Twice now I’m more in favor of the fighting chance tools being available when you oppose them mostly. That’s an interesting peek at a difference in our world views.

This is a flagrantly false representation of my views and a little bit weird back-patting on your part. It is not that I don’t want us to have a fighting chance, it’s that I don’t think this does give us a fighting chance. It gives us the illusion of a fighting chance. At the cost of billions and billions of dollars.

9 Political Atheist  Fri, Apr 12, 2013 9:39:05am

re: #8 Glenn Beck’s Grand Unifying Theory of Obdicut

A small misunderstanding i think. I made no falsehood at all. You oppose this system which in my view gives us a fighting chance to stop an incoming warhead. You say it (at least probably if I understand you) won’t work, I say it will in a limited fashion. You oppose this fighting chance. You oppose a gun at home as a fighting chance against a violent attack in most cases, I do not for reasons we have been over and over.

I’m not saying you oppose a fighting chance in principle but in these two particular instances.

10 Glenn Beck's Grand Unifying Theory of Obdicut  Fri, Apr 12, 2013 9:46:17am

re: #9 Political Atheist

A small misunderstanding i think. I made no falsehood at all. You oppose this system which in my view gives us a fighting chance to stop an incoming warhead.

Exactly. And yet you say:

Twice now I’m more in favor of the fighting chance tools being available when you oppose them mostly.

I don’t oppose ‘fighting chance’ tools.

You oppose this fighting chance. You oppose a gun at home as a fighting chance against a violent attack in most cases, I do not for reasons we have been over and over.

Again, this is not true. I have said over, and over, and over, and over, that for those who actually have reason to fear attack, having a gun is completely defensible.

Why, why do you have to misrepresent me this way? Why can’t you accurately state my views and argue with them?

11 Political Atheist  Fri, Apr 12, 2013 10:08:27am

re: #10 Glenn Beck’s Grand Unifying Theory of Obdicut

I’m not being misleading at all. I said you oppose these particular tools in most cases. You are being way too specific. Too fine a point on it as it were. This stuff is all accurate in the contexts I describe. In general I support a broader spectrum of tools than you for that fighting chance as i use the term.

12 Political Atheist  Fri, Apr 12, 2013 10:12:53am

On another specific point, we are not near the apex of missile on missile defense. The coming few years will show how much better this will get before the next tech is ready like lasers or rail guns. The next gen EKV will be far better than the one we have now.

Oh and apart from BMD, what other options do we have to deal with an actual rogue launch? You did not answer that, and you did claim there are other options. (Your #6 first para.)

13 Political Atheist  Fri, Apr 12, 2013 10:19:50am

re: #12 Political Atheist
Let’s remember the EKV and other missile systems have already surpassed what many of the critics said it would do or not do. Eight physical intercepts so far for example. Many said that would never happen. They were wrong.

A link to back up my point about the improving EKV

aerojet.com

During the flight test, the DACS performed as expected. In this non-intercept flight test, the EKV DACS successfully conducted a planned sequence of stressing maneuvers designed to test the design of the next generation EKV.

14 Glenn Beck's Grand Unifying Theory of Obdicut  Fri, Apr 12, 2013 3:06:29pm

re: #11 Political Atheist

I’m not being misleading at all.

I can’t fucking believe this. you’re saying I’m against people having a fighting chance with guns, when I completely and absolutely support the idea of someone actually under threat, with an actual reason to worry for their lives, having a gun. I want them to get trained on it, but I support the idea of them having it.

So where the fuck do you get off with this bullshit portrayal of me as against people having a fighting chance?

This is lowering my opinion of you.

And you are just refusing to understand what I mean by the apex of interceptor technology. Again: We, right now, have an iffy chance of being able to intercept a single missile that’s at the very bottom of the technological ladder. As we increase missile intercept technology, missile technology itself will also increase. For whatever reason, you seem to think that missile technology will hold still while interceptor technology speeds ahead. I have no idea why.


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