On Oct. 18 The Garden Island printed an Army press release headlined PMRF at forefront of new-age warfare.
The press release variously states that the Department of Defense has been researching hypersonic nuclear weapon delivery vehicles “for decades,” and that now “our adversaries have decided to develop hypersonic capabilities” of their own. This must have caught our war-planners by surprise, because in the never-ending escalation of the missile-defense game, dating back to Reagan’s time, they declare there needs to be “a robust, hypersonic missile defense.”
A few facts:
• No missile defense strategy has ever been tested in a real-time scenario;
• Even when the test is scripted, the defending missile historically has failed to intercept the “enemy” missile more than half the time;
• A hypersonic missile at mach 5 travels the length of 80 football fields, end to end, in one second;
• Every treaty limiting the number of nukes and banning certain nuke-delivery missiles, except one, has been terminated by Presidents Bush and Trump. That treaty, the Start Two, is up for renewal next spring, and President Trump has said he will end it, too;
• The war-planners’ hypersonic missile-defense proposal is a network of hundreds of low-orbit satellites around the earth. It is at present only a concept for a technology that doesn’t even exist yet. The cost is almost beyond imagining. Some have speculated it could at long last crack the firewall between Pentagon defense spending, already more than half the federal discretionary budget, and the entitlement programs Social Security and Medicare.
The press release simultaneously celebrates “providing the warfighter the highest quality weapons” while acknowledging “defending against these systems is very difficult.” Translation: Expensive. In the real world, Americans are facing the real security threats of eviction, food insecurity, challenges to their mental health. A bailout for them is not affordable, but the Pentagon gets blank checks, no questions asked. And PMRF is at the forefront.
Kip Goodwin is a resident of Wailua.