‘Case of the Week’ 8: Abolish Missile Defense

CotW Lesser Disclaimer: As a free service, Case of the Week cases are not subject to the same editorial process as the COG 2010 sourcebook, and don’t generally have extensive work put into them. You may find material and sources in these cases that would not appear in the sourcebook. We hope this case will be useful to you; enjoy!

About the Author: Caleb Smith is a nationally-qualified debater and an author for COG 2010. In 2010, he was a Team Policy finalist in NCFCA Region 4. A prolific researcher, he succeeded in throwing together this case in a mere two hours.

1AC: Abolish Missile Defense

By Caleb Smith

(Author’s note: I wouldn’t advise keeping the introduction – but I had to put something here. ;-)

Picture to yourself two young brothers having a water-gun fight. While they both have fun, one brother, age six—let’s call him Billy—hates getting wet. Always resourceful, Billy attempts to solve the problem and resorts to the highest technology available (scissors, paper, and tape) and builds himself a suit of armor. Needless to say, he learns the hard way that a suit of paper and tape falls apart and is no defense against water.

A silly analogy? Absolutely. Yet the United States today is doing the exact same thing, except that this time, the risk is not getting wet, but a nuclear attack on American soil. It is because my partner and I believe America’s safety should hinge on more than the intelligence of a six-year-old that we stand Resolved: that the United States Federal Government should significantly reform its policy toward Russia.

Let’s begin by looking at some

Definitions

Significantly: “by a large amount, or in a way that is easily noticeable” (Macmillan Dictionary, accessed June 2010, http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/american/significantly)

Toward: “in the direction of” (Compact Oxford English Dictionary, 2010, http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/towards?view=uk)

Inherency

1. The United States is currently pursuing Missile Defense, budgeting $9 Billion for FY2011

Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance [a non-profit organization which seeks to generate public support for the continued testing, development and deployment of missile defense systems], Missile Defense Makes Significant Financial Gains Under Obama, February 4, 2010, PRNewswire-USNewswire http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/missile-defense-makes-significant-financial-gains-under-obama-83595617.html

“Early this week, President Barack Obama’s administration and the Department of Defense announced a substantial increase to the 2011 Missile Defense Budget. The amount, $9.42 billion, equals a 6.13 percent increase from the 2010 budget. This increase, $577 million, recovers close to half the amount that was cut by the President and Secretary Robert Gates a year ago.

2. The United States claims on Missile Defense are fiction

George N. Lewis [Ph.D. in experimental physics], Prof. Theodore A. Postol [Professor of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology], Arms Control Association, “A Flawed and Dangerous U.S. Missile Plan,” May 2010 http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_05/Lewis-Postol#bio

Less than five months later, in February, the Obama administration produced an extensive elaboration of the September decision in a document called the Ballistic Missile Defense Review Report. The report asserts that ballistic missile defense technologies have already produced a reliable and robust defense of the United States against limited intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) attacks. According to the report, the technologies now in hand will make it possible for the United States to build a global missile defense system that is so capable, flexible, and reliable that potential adversaries will see that they have no choice but to de-emphasize their efforts to use ballistic missiles as a way to obtain their political goals.

However, a review of the actual state of missile defense technologies reveals that this new vision put forth by the report is nothing more than a fiction and that the policy strategy that follows from these technical myths could well lead to a foreign policy disaster.

3. Claims for the success of missile defense ignore the actual data

George N. Lewis [Ph.D. in experimental physics], Prof. Theodore A. Postol [Professor of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology], Arms Control Association, “A Flawed and Dangerous U.S. Missile Plan,” May 2010 http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_05/Lewis-Postol#bio

With regard to current missile defense technologies, there are no new material facts to support any of the claims in the report that suggest that the United States is now in a position to defend itself from limited ICBM attacks or that any of the fundamental unsolved problems associated with high-altitude ballistic missile defenses have been solved. In fact, as this article will show, the most recent ballistic missile defense flight-test data released by the Department of Defense and the most recent failed test of the ground-based missile defense system in January show quite the opposite.

4. Missile Defense is easily circumvented

The Missile Defence Working Group [A group composed of like minded organizations opposed to missile defense, including Abolition 2000 UK, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Medact, Northern Friends Peace Board, Quaker Peace and Social Witness and United Nations Association, among others.] “US Missile Defence: Ten Reasons for UK Concern”, Written by David Gee and Helen Hughes, June 2002 http://www.abolition2000uk.org/MD.pdf, Page 5

The proliferation of WMD and ballistic missile technology is not in doubt but the assumption that this constitutes an emerging physical threat to the US is misleading. Should states be seeking to attack the US physically, a cheaper, covert and more reliable method would likely be used, such as a suitcase-sized WMD device deployed in a major US city. By contrast, a missile launched towards the US would be traced immediately and provoke a devastating response.

5. Missile Defense harms US/Russia relations

Prof. Charles L. Glasser [School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago], Prof. Steve Fetter [School of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland], “National Missile Defense and the Future of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy,” International Security, Vol. 26, No. 1, Pages 40-92, Summer 2001 http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/016228801753212859

What makes NMD special is its unavoidable connection to U.S. Strategic policy and to the United States’ political relationships with Russia and China. Both states view U.S. NMD as a threat to their strategic nuclear capabilities and their relationship with the United States.

Russian retaliation leads to militarization in international relations

The Missile Defence Working Group [A group composed of like minded organizations opposed to missile defense, including Abolition 2000 UK, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Medact, Northern Friends Peace Board, Quaker Peace and Social Witness and United Nations Association, among others.] “US Missile Defence: Ten Reasons for UK Concern”, Written by David Gee and Helen Hughes, June 2002http://www.abolition2000uk.org/MD.pdf, Page 5

“Thus its removal, combined with US deployment of MD, challenges the deterrent credibility of Russia, but more so China by denying these states the ability to retaliate against a first strike. This also threatens non-proliferation strategies, potentially leading to further militarisation of international relations. Russia and China have sought to offset this shift in the status quo through both political and military responses.”

The United States is spending billions of tax-payer dollars on missile programs that don’t even work—and that could be circumvented even if they did. And as if that isn’t enough, Russia sees these programs as threatening, which in turn threatens any hopes of non-proliferation. What was intended to protect has accomplished only the opposite. Fortunately, we can improve our relationship with Russia by cutting these counterproductive programs, as detailed in the following plan.

Plan

Agency: Congress, the President, and any other necessary federal agencies

Mandate 1: All Missile Defense programs of the USFG shall be cut

Mandate 2: All missile defense programs to be based and implemented in foreign nations shall also be cut, unless guaranteed by unalterable treaty

Mandate 3: All funding for such programs shall be redirected to the federal deficit.

Enforcement: Any necessary federal agencies

Advantages

1. Friendlier, less militarized relations with Russia

Greg Thielmann [former senior professional staffer of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, member of the Council on Foreign Relations ], “ACA THREAT ASSESSMENT BRIEF Analysis on Effective Policy Responses to Weapons-Related Security Threats,” Published by the Arms Control Association, “Strategic Missile Defense: A Reality Check,” May 21, 2009http://www.armscontrol.org/system/files/TAB_StrategicMissileDefense.pdf

The United States has spent over one hundred billion dollars to try to create a capability to intercept the strategic ballistic missiles of first Russia, then China, and now those that North Korea and Iran may deploy in the future. At first glance, this investment appears to be a logical response to the most dangerous vector of nuclear attack. Yet strategic missile defense never yielded a leak-proof defense during the Cold War and has not discouraged the active pursuit of ballistic missile programs since. Missing the most likely contemporary security threat to the United States—terrorist groups acquiring and using nuclear, radiological, or biological weapons—strategic missile defense has increased the overall threat by fostering Russian and Chinese offensive force enhancements and complicating negotiated reductions in offensive ballistic missile arsenals that would lower threat assessments all around.

2. Elimination of Harmful/Useless Program

George N. Lewis [Ph.D. in experimental physics], Prof. Theodore A. Postol [Professor of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology], Arms Control Association, “A Flawed and Dangerous U.S. Missile Plan,” May 2010 http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_05/Lewis-Postol#bio

None of these unwanted outcomes need to be a result of the current Obama plan, but without a judicious and careful national assessment of the capabilities and limitations of these ballistic missile defense systems, the pressure to expand them will be both tremendous and without rationale. This new missile defense program could then lead to the usual results: gigantically expensive systems that have little real capability but create uncertainties that cause other states to react in ways that are not in the security interest of the United States.

3. Enhanced resources that can be used to fight they real cause of insecurity

The Missile Defence Working Group [A group composed of like minded organizations opposed to missile defense, including Abolition 2000 UK, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Medact, Northern Friends Peace Board, Quaker Peace and Social Witness and United Nations Association, among others.] “US Missile Defence: Ten Reasons for UK Concern”, Written by David Gee and Helen Hughes, June 2002 http://www.abolition2000uk.org/MD.pdf, Page 3

“7. The defensive effectiveness of a MD system is highly dubious in principle and in practice.

8. US MD represents a misuse of resources that could be used to address systemic causes of insecurity to better effect.

In short, a missile “defense” system is little more than an oxymoron. These systems have wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, and only weakened our security by threatening Russia and encouraging it to proliferate.

French President Jacques Chirac once stated, “If you look at world history, … there’s a permanent race between sword and shield. The sword always wins.”

Missile defense is failed shield against a sword that could obliterate an entire city in one blow. Yet we can stop this waste. We can build a better relationship with Russia, “de-incentize” its proliferation, and strengthen our security—by spending less money. In fact, you can do all of this, with only an affirmative ballot.


Backup: Missile Defense

Defense Department test data: Missile Defense fails

George N. Lewis [Ph.D. in experimental physics], Prof. Theodore A. Postol [Professor of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology], Arms Control Association, “A Flawed and Dangerous U.S. Missile Plan,” May 2010 http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_05/Lewis-Postol#bio

However, the Defense Department’s own test data show that, in combat, the vast majority of “successful” SM-3 experiments would have failed to destroy attacking warheads. The data also show potential adversaries how to defeat both the SM-3 and the GMD systems, which share the same serious flaws that can be readily exploited by adversaries. The long record of tests of the GMD system, and the most recent test in January of this year, shows that it has only been tested in carefully orchestrated scenarios that have been designed to hide fundamental flaws and produce appearances of success.

Missile Defense has cost over $100 Billion—and not succeeded either

Greg Thielmann [former senior professional staffer of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, member of the Council on Foreign Relations ], “ACA THREAT ASSESSMENT BRIEF Analysis on Effective Policy Responses to Weapons-Related Security Threats,” Published by the Arms Control Association, “Strategic Missile Defense: A Reality Check,” May 21, 2009http://www.armscontrol.org/system/files/TAB_StrategicMissileDefense.pdf

The United States has spent over one hundred billion dollars to try to create a capabilityto intercept the strategic ballistic missiles of first Russia, then China, and now those that North Korea and Iran may deploy in the future. At first glance, this investment appears to be a logical response to the most dangerous vector of nuclear attack. Yet strategic missile defense never yielded a leak-proof defense during the Cold War and has not discouraged the active pursuit of ballistic missile programs since.

Laundry List: US Missile Defense programs fail

The Missile Defence Working Group [A group composed of like minded organizations opposed to missile defense, including Abolition 2000 UK, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Medact, Northern Friends Peace Board, Quaker Peace and Social Witness and United Nations Association,among others.] “US Missile Defence: Ten Reasons for UK Concern”, Written by David Gee and Helen Hughes, June 2002http://www.abolition2000uk.org/MD.pdf, Page 3

Ten points are outlined here:

1. The rationale for US MD is based on an exaggerated perception of a threat to its physical security.

2. US MD alters the strategic relationships between nations, so risking provoking other states to develop nuclear arsenals in order to counter the perceived US advantage.

3. US security policy is straining the arms control and disarmament regime to breaking point.

4. There are clear indications that US MD plans include the weaponisation of space for the first time.

5. The opaque operation of US bases in the UK and the lack of parliamentary debate raise questions of UK sovereignty in respect of these bases and their overall accountability.

6. The use of US bases in the UK would raise the profile of the UK in any missile attack against the US.

7. The defensive effectiveness of a MD system is highly dubious in principle and in practice.

8. US MD represents a misuse of resources that could be used to address systemic causes of insecurity to better effect.

Missile Defense is technically unfeasible—and even if so, its effectiveness could be destroyed

The Missile Defence Working Group [A group composed of like minded organizations opposed to missile defense, including Abolition 2000 UK, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Medact, Northern Friends Peace Board, Quaker Peace and Social Witness and United Nations Association, among others.] “US Missile Defence: Ten Reasons for UK Concern”, Written by David Gee and Helen Hughes, June 2002http://www.abolition2000uk.org/MD.pdf, Page 9

In the past, MD systems developed by the US and the Soviet Union have been abandoned due to the technical hurdles involved. Development of current technologies has been subject to setbacks that, according to some reports, have been played down by the arms corporations involved. The removal of normal oversight procedures for the US Missile Defence Agency has added furtherdoubt to the integrity of the testing regime. Even if an operational MD is technically possible, the effectiveness of any system must always remain in doubt. The most obvious weakness is the vulnerability of vital radar stations and satellites placed beyond the protection of the defence system in order to give adequate warning of hostile missile launches. In theory, a missile attack against the US could be preceded by an attack against these unprotected facilities, first rendering the defence system useless.

Locating a warhead and hitting it directly nearly impossible

George N. Lewis [Ph.D. in experimental physics], Prof. Theodore A. Postol [Professor of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology], Arms Control Association, “A Flawed and Dangerous U.S. Missile Plan,” May 2010 http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_05/Lewis-Postol#bio

Hitting the warhead once it is “acquired,” i.e., located by the interceptor, is a relatively easy task, but locating the warhead is by far the most demanding task for both the SM-3 and GMD systems. The warhead must be found, identified, and located precisely, and it must be directly hit if it is to be destroyed by impact. Experience shows that hitting parts of a missile’s airframe, even when the warhead is still attached to it, will not destroy the warhead or prevent it from continuing on a nearly unchanged trajectory toward its target.

Missile Defense is ineffective

Andrew M. Sessler [PhD], Prof. John M. Cornwall [PhD, Professor at UCLA], Richard L. Garwin [PhD in physics], and others, Bob Dietz, Steve Fetter, Sherman Frankel, Kurt Gottfried, Lisbeth Gronlund, George N. Lewis, Theodore A. Postol, David C. Wright, “Countermeasures: A Technical Evaluation of the Operational Effectiveness of the Planned US National Missile Defense System,” Cambridge, MA: Union of Concerned Scientists and MIT Security Studies Program, April 2000 http://www.lib.umd.edu/drum/handle/1903/4333

The National Missile Defense system under development by the United States would be ineffective against even limited ballistic missile attacks from emerging missile states. Moreover, its deployment would increase nuclear dangers from Russia and China, and impede cooperation by these countries in international efforts to control the proliferation of long-range ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction. The United States should reconsider its options for countering the threats posed by long-range ballistic missiles and shelve the current NMD plans as unworkable and counterproductive.

Ballistic missiles aren’t even the main security threat

Greg Thielmann [former senior professional staffer of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, member of the Council on Foreign Relations ], “ACA THREAT ASSESSMENT BRIEF Analysis on Effective Policy Responses to Weapons-Related Security Threats,” Published by the Arms Control Association, “Strategic Missile Defense: A Reality Check,” May 21, 2009http://www.armscontrol.org/system/files/TAB_StrategicMissileDefense.pdf

Ironically, just as the Bush administration was ramping up efforts to deploy strategic ballistic missile defenses, a new consensus was forming in U.S. intelligence and security circles that the worst threats emerging from “rogue states” and non-state terrorist actors would not be in the form of strategic ballistic missiles. In assessing foreign ballistic missile threats, the National Intelligence Officer for Strategic and Nuclear Programs testified to Congress in 2000 that “…in the coming years, U.S. territory is probably more likely to be attacked with weapons of mass destruction from non-missile delivery means (most likely from non-state entities) than by missiles.”

(Okay, I wouldn’t advise keeping the introduction.  But still, I had to put something there :)

Picture to yourself two young brothers having a water-gun fight.  While they both have fun, one brother, age six—let’s call him Billy—hates getting wet.  Always resourceful, Billy attempts to solve the problem and resorts to the highest technology available (scissors, paper, and tape) and builds himself a suit of armor.  Needless to say, he learns the hard way that a suit of paper and tape falls apart and is no defense against armor.

A silly analogy?  Maybe.  Yet the United States today is doing the exact same thing, except that this time, the risk is not getting wet, but a nuclear attack on American soil.  It is because my partner and I believe America’s safety should hinge on more than the intelligence of a six year old that we stand Resolved: that the United States federal government should significantly reform its policy toward Russia.

Let’s begin by looking at some

Definitions

Significantly: “by a large amount, or in a way that is easily noticeable” (Macmillan Dictionary, accessed June 2010, http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/american/significantly)

Toward: “in the direction of” (Compact Oxford English Dictionary, 2010,

http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/towards?view=uk

Inherency:

1. The United States is currently pursuing Missile Defense, budgeting $9 Billion for FY2011

Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance [a non-profit organization which seeks to generate public support for the continued testing, development and deployment of missile defense systems], Missile Defense Makes Significant Financial Gains Under Obama, February 4, 2010, PRNewswire-USNewswire

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/missile-defense-makes-significant-financial-gains-under-obama-83595617.html

“Early this week, President Barack Obama’s administration and the Department of Defense announced a substantial increase to the 2011 Missile Defense Budget. The amount, $9.42 billion, equals a 6.13 percent increase from the 2010 budget. This increase, $577 million, recovers close to half the amount that was cut by the President and Secretary Robert Gates a year ago.

2.  The United States claims on Missile Defense are fiction

George N. Lewis [Ph.D. in experimental physics], Prof. Theodore A. Postol [Professor of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology], Arms Control Association, “A Flawed and Dangerous U.S. Missile Plan,” May 2010

http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_05/Lewis-Postol#bio

Less than five months later, in February, the Obama administration produced an extensive elaboration of the September decision in a document called the Ballistic Missile Defense Review Report. The report asserts that ballistic missile defense technologies have already produced a reliable and robust defense of the United States against limited intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) attacks. According to the report, the technologies now in hand will make it possible for the United States to build a global missile defense system that is so capable, flexible, and reliable that potential adversaries will see that they have no choice but to de-emphasize their efforts to use ballistic missiles as a way to obtain their political goals.

However, a review of the actual state of missile defense technologies reveals that this new vision put forth by the report is nothing more than a fiction and that the policy strategy that follows from these technical myths could well lead to a foreign policy disaster.

3. Claims for the success of missile defense ignore the actual data

George N. Lewis [Ph.D. in experimental physics], Prof. Theodore A. Postol [Professor of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology], Arms Control Association, “A Flawed and Dangerous U.S. Missile Plan,” May 2010

http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_05/Lewis-Postol#bio

With regard to current missile defense technologies, there are no new material facts to support any of the claims in the report that suggest that the United States is now in a position to defend itself from limited ICBM attacks or that any of the fundamental unsolved problems associated with high-altitude ballistic missile defenses have been solved. In fact, as this article will show, the most recent ballistic missile defense flight-test data released by the Department of Defense and the most recent failed test of the ground-based missile defense system in January show quite the opposite.

4. Missile Defense is easily circumvented

The Missile Defence Working Group [A group composed of like minded organizations opposed to missile defense, including Abolition 2000 UK, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Medact,

Northern Friends Peace Board, Quaker Peace and Social Witness and United Nations Association,

among others.] “US Missile Defence: Ten Reasons for UK Concern”, Written by David Gee and Helen Hughes, June 2002

http://www.abolition2000uk.org/MD.pdf, Page 5

The proliferation of WMD and ballistic missile technology is not in doubt but the assumption that

this constitutes an emerging physical threat to the US is misleading. Should states be seeking to

attack the US physically, a cheaper, covert and more reliable method would likely be used, such as

a suitcase-sized WMD device deployed in a major US city. By contrast, a missile launched towards

the US would be traced immediately and provoke a devastating response.

5. Missile Defense harms US/Russia relations

Prof. Charles L. Glasser [School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago], Prof. Steve Fetter [School of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland], “National Missile Defense and the Future of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy,” International Security, Vol. 26, No. 1, Pages 40-92, Summer 2001

http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/016228801753212859

What makes NMD special is its unavoidable connection to U.S. Strategic policy and to the United States’ political relationships with Russia and China.  Both states view U.S. NMD as a threat to their strategic nuclear capabilities and their relationship with the United States.

Russian retaliation leads to militarization in international relations

The Missile Defence Working Group [A group composed of like minded organizations opposed to missile defense, including Abolition 2000 UK, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Medact,

Northern Friends Peace Board, Quaker Peace and Social Witness and United Nations Association,

among others.] “US Missile Defence: Ten Reasons for UK Concern”, Written by David Gee and Helen Hughes, June 2002

http://www.abolition2000uk.org/MD.pdf, Page 5

Thus its removal, combined with US deployment

of MD, challenges the deterrent credibility of Russia, but more so China by denying these states

the ability to retaliate against a first strike. This also threatens non-proliferation strategies, potentially

leading to further militarisation of international relations. Russia and China have sought to

offset this shift in the status quo through both political and military responses.

The United States is spending billions of tax-payer dollars on missile programs that don’t even work—and that could be circumvented even if they did.  And as if that isn’t enough, Russia sees these programs as threatening, which in turn threatens any hopes of non-proliferation.  What was intended to protect has accomplished only the opposite.  Fortunately, we can improve our relationship with Russia by cutting these counterproductive programs, as detailed in the following plan.

Plan:

Agency: Congress, the President, and any other necessary federal agencies

Mandate 1: All Missile Defense programs of the USFG shall be cut

Mandate 2: All missile defense programs to be based and implemented in foreign nations shall also be cut, unless guaranteed by unalterable treaty

Mandate 3: All funding for such programs shall be redirected to the federal deficit

Enforcement: Any necessary federal agencies

Advantages:

1. Friendlier, less militarized relations with Russia

Greg Thielmann [former senior professional staffer of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, member of the Council on Foreign Relations ],ACA THREAT ASSESSMENT BRIEF Analysis on Effective Policy Responses to Weapons-Related Security Threats,” Published by the Arms Control Association,Strategic Missile Defense: A Reality Check,” May 21, 2009

http://www.armscontrol.org/system/files/TAB_StrategicMissileDefense.pdf

The United States has spent over one hundred billion dollars to try to create a capability

to intercept the strategic ballistic missiles of first Russia, then China, and now those that

North Korea and Iran may deploy in the future. At first glance, this investment appears to be a

logical response to the most dangerous vector of nuclear attack. Yet strategic missile defense never

yielded a leak-proof defense during the Cold War and has not discouraged the active pursuit

of ballistic missile programs since. Missing the most likely contemporary security threat to the

United States—terrorist groups acquiring and using nuclear, radiological, or biological weapons—

strategic missile defense has increased the overall threat by fostering Russian and Chinese

offensive force enhancements and complicating negotiated reductions in offensive ballistic

missile arsenals that would lower threat assessments all around.

2. Elimination of Harmful/Useless Program

George N. Lewis [Ph.D. in experimental physics], Prof. Theodore A. Postol [Professor of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology], Arms Control Association, “A Flawed and Dangerous U.S. Missile Plan,” May 2010

http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_05/Lewis-Postol#bio

None of these unwanted outcomes need to be a result of the current Obama plan, but without a judicious and careful national assessment of the capabilities and limitations of these ballistic missile defense systems, the pressure to expand them will be both tremendous and without rationale. This new missile defense program could then lead to the usual results: gigantically expensive systems that have little real capability but create uncertainties that cause other states to react in ways that are not in the security interest of the United States.

3. Enhanced resources that can be used to fight they real cause of insecurity

The Missile Defence Working Group [A group composed of like minded organizations opposed to missile defense, including Abolition 2000 UK, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Medact,

Northern Friends Peace Board, Quaker Peace and Social Witness and United Nations Association,

among others.] “US Missile Defence: Ten Reasons for UK Concern”, Written by David Gee and Helen Hughes, June 2002

http://www.abolition2000uk.org/MD.pdf, Page 3

7. The defensive effectiveness of a MD system is highly dubious in principle

and in practice.

8. US MD represents a misuse of resources that could be used to address

systemic causes of insecurity to better effect.

In short, a missile “defense” system is little more than an oxymoron.  These systems have wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, and only weakened our security by threatening Russia and encouraging it to proliferate.

French President Jacques Chirac once stated, “If you look at world history, … there’s a permanent race between sword and shield. The sword always wins.”

Missile defense is failed shield against a sword that could obliterate an entire city in one blow.  Yet we can stop this waste.  We can build a better relationship with Russia, “de-incentize” its proliferation, and strengthen our security—by spending less money.  In fact, you can do all of this, with only an affirmative ballot.

Miscellaneous Backup:

Defense Department test data: Missile Defense fails

George N. Lewis [Ph.D. in experimental physics], Prof. Theodore A. Postol [Professor of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology], Arms Control Association, “A Flawed and Dangerous U.S. Missile Plan,” May 2010

http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_05/Lewis-Postol#bio

However, the Defense Department’s own test data show that, in combat, the vast majority of “successful” SM-3 experiments would have failed to destroy attacking warheads. The data also show potential adversaries how to defeat both the SM-3 and the GMD systems, which share the same serious flaws that can be readily exploited by adversaries. The long record of tests of the GMD system, and the most recent test in January of this year, shows that it has only been tested in carefully orchestrated scenarios that have been designed to hide fundamental flaws and produce appearances of success.

Missile Defense has cost over $100 Billion—and not succeeded either

Greg Thielmann [former senior professional staffer of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, member of the Council on Foreign Relations ],ACA THREAT ASSESSMENT BRIEF Analysis on Effective Policy Responses to Weapons-Related Security Threats,” Published by the Arms Control Association,Strategic Missile Defense: A Reality Check,” May 21, 2009

http://www.armscontrol.org/system/files/TAB_StrategicMissileDefense.pdf

The United States has spent over one hundred billion dollars to try to create a capability

to intercept the strategic ballistic missiles of first Russia, then China, and now those that

North Korea and Iran may deploy in the future. At first glance, this investment appears to be a

logical response to the most dangerous vector of nuclear attack. Yet strategic missile defense never

yielded a leak-proof defense during the Cold War and has not discouraged the active pursuit

of ballistic missile programs since.

Laundry List: US Missile Defense programs fail

The Missile Defence Working Group [A group composed of like minded organizations opposed to missile defense, including Abolition 2000 UK, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Medact,

Northern Friends Peace Board, Quaker Peace and Social Witness and United Nations Association,

among others.] “US Missile Defence: Ten Reasons for UK Concern”, Written by David Gee and Helen Hughes, June 2002

http://www.abolition2000uk.org/MD.pdf, Page 3

Ten points are outlined here:

1. The rationale for US MD is based on an exaggerated perception of a

threat to its physical security.

2. US MD alters the strategic relationships between nations, so risking

provoking other states to develop nuclear arsenals in order to counter

the perceived US advantage.

3. US security policy is straining the arms control and disarmament regime

to breaking point.

4. There are clear indications that US MD plans include the weaponisation

of space for the first time.

5. The opaque operation of US bases in the UK and the lack of parliamentary

debate raise questions of UK sovereignty in respect of these bases and their

overall accountability.

6. The use of US bases in the UK would raise the profile of the UK in any

missile attack against the US.

7. The defensive effectiveness of a MD system is highly dubious in principle

and in practice.

8. US MD represents a misuse of resources that could be used to address

systemic causes of insecurity to better effect.

Missile Defense is technically unfeasible—and even if so, its effectiveness could be destroyed

The Missile Defence Working Group [A group composed of like minded organizations opposed to missile defense, including Abolition 2000 UK, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases (CAAB), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Medact,

Northern Friends Peace Board, Quaker Peace and Social Witness and United Nations Association,

among others.] “US Missile Defence: Ten Reasons for UK Concern”, Written by David Gee and Helen Hughes, June 2002

http://www.abolition2000uk.org/MD.pdf, Page 9

In the past, MD systems developed by the US and the Soviet Union have been abandoned due to

the technical hurdles involved. Development of current technologies has been subject to setbacks

that, according to some reports, have been played down by the arms corporations involved. The

removal of normal oversight procedures for the US Missile Defence Agency has added further

doubt to the integrity of the testing regime. Even if an operational MD is technically possible, the

effectiveness of any system must always remain in doubt. The most obvious weakness is the vulnerability of vital radar stations and satellites placed beyond the protection of the defence system in

order to give adequate warning of hostile missile launches. In theory, a missile attack against the

US could be preceded by an attack against these unprotected facilities, first rendering the defence

system useless.

Locating a warhead and hitting it directly nearly impossible

George N. Lewis [Ph.D. in experimental physics], Prof. Theodore A. Postol [Professor of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology], Arms Control Association, “A Flawed and Dangerous U.S. Missile Plan,” May 2010

http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_05/Lewis-Postol#bio

Hitting the warhead once it is “acquired,” i.e., located by the interceptor, is a relatively easy task, but locating the warhead is by far the most demanding task for both the SM-3 and GMD systems. The warhead must be found, identified, and located precisely, and it must be directly hit if it is to be destroyed by impact. Experience shows that hitting parts of a missile’s airframe, even when the warhead is still attached to it, will not destroy the warhead or prevent it from continuing on a nearly unchanged trajectory toward its target.

Missile Defense is ineffective

Andrew M. Sessler [PhD], Prof. John M. Cornwall [PhD, Professor at UCLA], Richard L. Garwin [PhD in physics], and others, Bob Dietz, Steve Fetter, Sherman Frankel, Kurt Gottfried, Lisbeth Gronlund, George N. Lewis, Theodore A. Postol, David C. Wright, “Countermeasures: A Technical Evaluation of the Operational Effectiveness of the Planned US National Missile Defense System,” Cambridge, MA: Union of Concerned Scientists and MIT Security Studies Program, April 2000

http://www.lib.umd.edu/drum/handle/1903/4333

The National Missile Defense system under development by the United States would be ineffective against even limited ballistic missile attacks from emerging missile states. Moreover, its deployment would increase nuclear dangers from Russia and China, and impede cooperation by these countries in international efforts to control the proliferation of long-range ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction. The United States should reconsider its options for countering the threats posed by long-range ballistic missiles and shelve the current NMD plans as unworkable and counterproductive.

Ballistic missiles aren’t even the main security threat

Greg Thielmann [former senior professional staffer of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, member of the Council on Foreign Relations ],ACA THREAT ASSESSMENT BRIEF Analysis on Effective Policy Responses to Weapons-Related Security Threats,” Published by the Arms Control Association,Strategic Missile Defense: A Reality Check,” May 21, 2009

http://www.armscontrol.org/system/files/TAB_StrategicMissileDefense.pdf

Ironically, just as the Bush administration was ramping up efforts to deploy strategic ballistic missile defenses, a new consensus was forming in U.S. intelligence and security circles that the worst threats emerging from “rogue states” and non-state terrorist actors would not be in the form of strategic ballistic missiles. In assessing foreign ballistic missile threats, the National Intelligence Officer for Strategic and Nuclear Programs testified to Congress in 2000 that “…in the coming years, U.S. territory is probably more likely to be attacked with weapons of mass destruction from non-missile delivery means (most likely from non-state entities) than by missiles.”

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5 Responses to ‘Case of the Week’ 8: Abolish Missile Defense

  1. Andrew says:

    “All Missile Defense programs of the USFG shall be cut”

    ………

    Wow. Just wow.

  2. hmmm. Impact has a nice brief on this (not an actual neg though) the problems with not having a missile defense program are huge (especially with nuts like Kim Jong II or whatever his name is that is running N. Korea right now.) The 1ac is well writen although the case itself isn’t good (extra T, tons of DA’s ect) I agree with Andrew ““All Missile Defense programs of the USFG shall be cut”

    ………

    Wow. Just wow.” Yep :)

  3. COGblog’s NOTE: The following is unsolicited spam and has little to nothing to do with the topic. Interpret it however you want.
    _________________________

    Add your voice to the global call to abolish nuclear weapons, for good.

    The MillionPleas.com campaign, an initiative of ICAN, aims to be the world’s longest video chain letter. It is addressed to the 9 countries that still have nuclear weapons.

    ICAN is asking people from all over the globe to upload a video clip of themselves saying the word “please”. The “pleases” will then be edited into a long virtual chain letter, which will act as a petition to abolish nuclear weapons, worldwide.

    The Million Pleas campaign marks the 65th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

  4. David says:

    So how is this case topical? Yes it says that it will improve relations with Russia, but it isn’t really usfg policy with Russia.

    • cogdebate says:

      You can make a pretty strong case that missile defense is a policy towards Russia – after all, the U.S. and Russia have 95% of the world’s nuclear arsenal.

      Missile defense cases are generally considered topical. Both Blue Book and Source include cases on missile defense. It’s definitely debatable, though, so if you feel like writing a good t-press, have at it.

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