by Rick Rozoff
August 22, 2009
From August 17-20 the annual U.S. Space and Missile Defense Conference was conducted in Huntsville, Alabama, which hosts the headquarters of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
Among the over 2,000 participants were the Missile Defense Agency’s new director, Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. James Cartwright, commander of the Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command Army Lt. Gen. Kevin Campbell and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Administrator Charles Bolden Jr.
There were also 230 exhibitors present, among them the nation’s major arms manufacturers with an emphasis on those weapons companies specializing in global missile shield and space war projects. The presence of the head of NASA indicated that the distinction between the military and civilian uses of space is rapidly disappearing. As the Bloomberg news agency reported on the second day of this year, “President-elect Barack Obama will probably tear down long-standing barriers between the U.S.’s civilian and military space programs to speed up a mission to the moon amid the prospect of a new space race with China” and “Obama’s transition team is considering a collaboration between the Defense Department and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration….”  The recently appointed NASA chief, Bolden, is a retired Marine Corps general.
47,500-Pound Missile Launcher Headed To NATO Bases In Europe?
A Reuters dispatch of August 20 on the Huntsville Space and Missile Defense Conference reported that the Boeing Company’s vice president and general manager for missile defense, Greg Hyslop, announced to the conference that his company “is eyeing a 47,500-pound interceptor that could be flown to NATO bases as needed on Boeing-built C-17 cargo planes, erected quickly on a 60-foot trailer stand and taken home when judged safe to do so.”
Boeing displayed a scale-model version of a mobile “two-stage interceptor designed to be globally deployable within 24 hours….” 
The company executive made an allusion to the fixed-site ground-based interceptor deployment planned for Poland as being politically risky – the majority of Poles oppose it if their government doesn’t and Russian officials have persistently pledged to take countermeasures if the U.S. goes ahead with the project – and the above-cited Reuters report endorses the mobile interceptor proposal by claiming it could “blunt Russian fears of possible U.S. fixed missile-defense sites in Europe.” 
How substituting a mobile missile launcher “globally deployable within 24 hours” for ten missiles permanently stationed in Poland at a location known to Russia would assuage the latter’s concerns over its deterrent and retaliation capabilities being neutralized in the event of a U.S. and NATO first strike was not explained by either the Boeing official or Reuters.
Later in the same day the First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic Tomas Pojar gave the lie to the Boeing subterfuge by insisting that a “possible U.S. mobile anti-missile shield does not threaten the U.S. plans to build a radar base on Czech soil because the system is to be a combination of fixed and mobile elements” and that “The whole system will always function based on the combination of fixed and mobile elements (including many radars) that will complement one another. It is not possible otherwise.” 
Missile Defense: Ruse And Reality
As regards the incontestable fact that U.S. and NATO plans for the deployment of interceptor missiles and complementary radar facilities in Europe are not and could not be designed to protect the United States and Western Europe from imaginary Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles and equally non-existent nuclear warheads, even the vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General James Cartwright was forced to concede the point at the space and missile defense conference this week.
In relation to the U.S.’s “capability to take on 15 inbound intercontinental ballistic missiles simultaneously using the 30 GBI’s [ground-based interceptors] being placed in silos at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California,” Cartwright in a moment of rare candor stated, “That’s a heck of a lot more than a rogue nation could fire.” 
To demonstrate that interceptor missiles and associated radar components of a worldwide Star Wars system – the current U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is an outgrowth of the Ronald Reagan administration’s 1983 Strategic Defense Initiative and since 2002 has been the successor organization to the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization launched in 1993 – are intended for incorporation into a far wider-ranging project than what they are publicly acknowledged to be used for, at this week’s conference in Alabama MDA’s director Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly addressed one of the space facets of his agency’s plans and spoke of the inauguration of the Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) which will include two demonstration satellites to be launched next month. 
And in respect to the ground-based components of U.S. and NATO missile shield deployments in Eastern Europe, plans for their stationing have never been disavowed by American officials, neither President Barack Obama nor Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The only reservations expressed in Washington about positioning missiles and missile radar precariously close to Russia’s borders are the proven viability and cost effectiveness of such deployments.
Broadening The Scope Of U.S.-NATO Missile Shield Plans
On July 30th Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow told U.S. congressmen “The site in Poland and the radar in the Czech Republic are among the options that are being considered, together with other options that might be able to perform the mission as well” and Associated Press on that date wrote that “Vershbow said the missile defense review will look at a range of options, but will not take Russia’s objection into account.” 
The “other options” all along have been a broader and not narrower undertaking, that of integrating American missile shield sites into a continent-wide system with NATO.
The recent recommendation of a mobile, rapid deployable interceptor missile model may well be what is intended, again to reinforce rather than supplant bilateral arrangements between the U.S. and Poland and the Czech Republic.
Almost thirty years ago to the day Washington first proposed a mobile missile initiative that if implemented might have proven to be one of the most dangerous moves in the 45-year Cold War.
MX: Washington’s First Project For Mobile Missile Launchers
In a speech on September 7, 1979 U.S. President Jimmy Carter, indicating a qualitative escalation of strategic deployments in the second half of his term that would pave the way for further aggressive actions by his successor Ronald Reagan, announced that:
“My administration is now embarked on a program to modernize and to improve the ability of our entire strategic triad, all three systems, to survive any attack. Our bomber force is being strengthened with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. Our strategic submarine force is being upgraded by Trident submarines and Trident missiles. However, as a result of increasing accuracy of strategic systems, fixed land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles or ICBM’s located in silos, such as our Minuteman, are becoming vulnerable to attack. A mobile ICBM system will greatly reduce this vulnerability.”
He was referring to the MX missile system and described it in outline as one that would “consist of 200 missile transporters or launchers, each capable of rapid movement on a special roadway connecting approximately 23 horizontal shelters.”
The full scale of the project was to have included a circular railroad track on which more than 200 missiles would be rotated into 4,600 shelters along the circumference in Utah and Nevada.
During the delicate and often hair-trigger days of the Cold War when peace and the survival of the planet and its inhabitants depended not only on mutual trust but on each side – the U.S. and the Soviet Union – being able to know what the other possessed and where it possessed it, especially launchers for intercontinental ballistic missiles equipped with nuclear warheads, Carter’s MX missile adventurism, had it implemented, may have brought the world closer to the brink of nuclear annihilation than it had ever been before.
For although Carter and his grey eminence, the ruthless geopolitician and pathological Russophobe Zbigniew Brzezinski, employed the artifice of defending the U.S. against an alleged Soviet first strike threat, in fact they intended to confront the U.S.S.R. with almost 5,000 new sites to target. The current total Russian strategic arsenal is exactly that number.
The 1979 SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) called for both sides to reduce their delivery vehicles (ICBM silos, submarine missile-launch tubes and strategic bombers) to 2,250. That number is less than half of the missile shelters the MX project would have constructed.
The MX system and complementary nuclear weapons initiatives with NATO in Europe were intended to accomplish one or both of two objectives: To be able to win (whatever that verb could mean in the more horrifying of all contexts) a nuclear war and to force the Soviet Union to spend itself into bankruptcy, the dual goal that was pursued even more assertively by Carter’s replacement Ronald Reagan and his Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars) project begun in 1983. (Reagan would transform the MX project into what only his administration could call the Peacekeeper fixed-site missile, each carrying 10 re-entry vehicles armed with 300-kiloton warheads.)
1979: NATO’s Expanded Nuclear Deployments In Europe
The month after Carter announced his commitment to the MX missile program, in October of 1979 NATO adopted a resolution that recommended modernization of NATO’s long-range theater-nuclear forces. 108 Pershing II missile and 464 ground-launched cruise missile launchers were to be deployed in Western Europe “To enhance the deterrence posture of NATO and to provide for a contingency in which the actual use of NATO’s nuclear-capable systems might become necessary….” 
The beginning of the Soviet Union’s deployment of SS-20 medium-range missiles was the justification for the stationing of an additional 572 nuclear warheads in Europe. How serious a threat Soviet missile attacks on Western Europe, much less the United States, were was demonstrated twelve years later when the nation unilaterally dissolved itself.
In December a meeting of NATO defense and foreign ministers formalized the plans and NATO Secretary General Joseph Luns revealed that the Pershing IIs and nuclear cruise missiles would be based in the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Britain and possibly Belgium and the Netherlands.
In June of 1980 the NATO Nuclear Planning Group met in Norway and “Following a briefing by the United States Secretary of Defence [Harold Brown], Ministers discussed strategic policy and planning concerning central strategic and theatre nuclear forces in support of the Alliance. Against this background, Ministers noted the continuing importance of improving the effectiveness of the full spectrum of Alliance forces, i.e. conventional, theatre nuclear and strategic nuclear forces, and of maintaining the essential linkage between these elements of the NATO triad.” 
One of the chief purposes of the founding of NATO in April of 1949 – months before the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb in August of that year – was to allow the U.S. to station some of the nuclear weapons of which it had a monopoly in Europe. Although Washington’s arsenal of nuclear warheads in Europe was drastically reduced after the end of the Cold War, American nuclear weapons remain on the continent, by some estimates several hundred.
NATO’s Supreme Guarantee: Strategic Nuclear Forces
NATO’s Strategic Concept adopted in 1999 states that “The supreme guarantee of the security of the Allies is provided by the strategic nuclear forces of the Alliance, particularly those of the United States….Nuclear forces based in Europe and committed to NATO provide an essential political and military link between the European and the North American members of the Alliance. The Alliance will therefore maintain adequate nuclear forces in Europe.”
A new version is being crafted currently, with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright heading up the group preparing it. In announcing the launching of that initiative, NATO reiterated that “The Strategic Concept is the authoritative statement of the Alliance’s objectives and provides the highest level of guidance on the political and military means to be used in achieving them.” 
Each summit and several ministerial and Military Committee meetings over the past decade have reaffirmed the Alliance’s dedication to the deployment and use of nuclear weapons in Europe.
As one of Turkey’s main daily newspapers, Zaman, said this July 31, “NATO rules allow for the possible use of nuclear weapons against targets in Russia or countries in the Middle East such as Syria and Iran….” 
A Time magazine report last year claimed that “The U.S. keeps an estimated 350 thermonuclear bombs in six NATO countries. In four of those — Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands — the weapons are stored at the host nation’s air bases, where they are guarded by specially trained U.S. military personnel.” 
When Boeing announced that it is prepared to assist in moving a nearly 50,000-pound mobile missile launcher – deployable internationally within 24 hours – to various NATO bases in Europe, it’s important to recall that many of those bases house nuclear warheads.
Pentagon’s, NATO’s New Bases In Eastern Europe: Threat To Russia
Were an interceptor missile – launched from a fixed site in Poland or from a proposed mobile missile launcher most anywhere in Europe – to approach Russia’s border by accident or design, the effect would be the same as that warned of by Russian military officials when the George W. Bush administration announced plans to equip ICBMs with conventional warheads.
No one in Moscow would have the luxury of waiting to see if a mushroom cloud blossomed over the Russian capital. The nation’s political and military leaders would do what their counterparts in any other nation, the U.S. most assuredly, would do. They would assume the worst and respond accordingly. That is, they would retaliate with strategic forces.
There are no NATO bases per se although there are bases in several European nations from Britain to Turkey that have been used by the bloc over for decades, and nowadays military bases in most every part of Europe are at the disposal of NATO collectively and the U.S. individually. Over the past ten years numerous new ones have become available in Eastern Europe, particularly in nations that border the Baltic and Black Seas, as does Russia in both cases.
American and NATO missile shield plans for Europe, inextricably connected as they are with a global interceptor missile network and the militarization of space, don’t exist in a strategic vacuum.
Verification Safeguards, Weapons Limitations: U.S. To Let START Die Russia Fears Nuclear First Strike
This year has marked several parallel moves by the West to achieve worldwide military – including nuclear – supremacy, especially ahead of the expiration of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) this December 5.
Two years ago Reuters reported that “The United States plans to let a landmark nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia expire in 2009 and replace it with a less formal agreement that eliminates strict verification requirements and weapons limits, a senior US official says.”
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Paula DeSutter is quoted as asserting that the major provisions of the treaty “are no longer necessary. We don’t believe we’re in a place where we need have to have the detailed lists (of weapons) and verification measures.” 
A Russian commentary of last December made the connection between the lack of a replacement for the START agreement and Washington’s missile shield designs and warned that “Lack of such agreement and deployment of a U.S. missile defense system may undermine strategic parity between the Russian Federation and the U.S. The potential enemy’s considerable superiority in the number of warheads is greatly increasing the risk of a disarming first strike, and the surviving missiles may not be enough to penetrate missile defenses and inflict unacceptable damage on the aggressor.” 
This March the Council on Foreign Relations conducted an interview with Russian defense analyst Pavel Felgenhauer (who is of a decidedly pro-Western bent) in which he said that Russia believes “that nuclear missiles will be deployed in Poland near Russia and these nuclear missiles will have also a first-strike capability and could hit Moscow before [Russia’s response] could get airborne, so this is going to actually be seen not so much as missile defense as a deployment of first-strike capability.
“The Russian military has been telling its political leaders that this missile plan is actually not what the Americans say it is. The Russian military says that these missiles will be nuclear armed because the Russian military doesn’t believe that non-nuclear defensive missiles are possible.” 
Prompt Global Strike: Missiles To Strike Anywhere On Earth In 35 Minutes
Regarding another U.S. plan to upset global military parity and further endanger world peace – the Prompt Global Strike initiative approved by Congress two years ago – it has been characterized as being able to “provide the US with the capability to strike virtually anywhere on the face of the earth within 60 minutes.
“Experts warn this could unleash a new spiral of the arms race and [is] fraught with unpredictable consequences.
“The Americans’ action is seen as a threat to everyone.
“They can take any potential enemy, Russia included, in their crosshairs and if treaties like START 1 and others are not extended, there will be no more curbs left…to prevent the development of new deadly weapons all leading to a new round of the arms race.” 
Another warning concerning Prompt Global Strike was issued by a Russian source two years ago: “The programme has been prompted by a US new strategy in the making, a strategy that proceeds from building a potential for delivering a first strike involving non-nuclear arms anywhere in the world within just one hour’s time.
“Two projects are due to be carried out within the programme.
“The first has to do with arming Trident sea-based missiles with conventional charges, while the second is about building a new super speed cruise missile.” 
Shortly afterward a major British newspaper in an article titled “US plans new space weapons against China” revealed that “Congress awarded $150 million for the Falcon project [hypersonic technology vehicle] and its associated prompt global strike programme. A defence industry source said it was likely that hundreds of millions more were being spent on space warfare ‘away from the public view.’
The ‘global strike’ platform would give America the ‘forward presence it requires around the world without the need for bases outside the US.
“The Pentagon is spending billions of dollars on new forms of space warfare to counter the growing risk of missile attack from rogue states and the ‘satellite killer’ capabilities of China.” 
Prompt Global Strike includes two main weapons, a conventional strike missile and an advanced hypersonic weapon, “a high-speed, missile-launched vehicle that could hit targets anywhere on Earth within 35 minutes.” 
Another Russian alarm was sounded at about the same time, one whose operative word is orbital: “Despite the obvious threat to civilization the United States may soon acquire orbital weapons under the Prompt Global Strike plan. They will give it the capacity to deal a conventional strike virtually anywhere in the world within an hour.” 
This year has been a portentous one so far in several other regards when it comes to the Pentagon’s plans for uncontested global military domination.
U.S. Navy Launches Missile Defense Command, Air Force Consolidates Nuclear Global Strike Command, Air Force Space Command Establishes Cyberwarfare Unit, MDA Boosts Laser Warfare Capacity
On April 30 the U.S. Navy established an Air and Missile Defense Command. Speaking on the occasion at the Naval Support Facility in Dahlgren, Virginia, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet Adm. Robert F. Willard said, “We’re on a quest to field a naval capability that is equally adept servicing national missile defense of the United States, regional missile defense for our allies and friends abroad and theater defense for our forward fighting forces.” 
The Aegis combat system which has equipped the U.S. and its allies (to date Norway, Spain, Australia, Japan and South Korea) with sea-based interceptor radar and missiles is administered by the U.S. Navy.
On August 7 the U.S. Air Force launched a Global Strike Command which combines all American ICBMs and nuclear-capable bombers, which includes new generation super-stealth warplanes capable of evading the radar and penetrating the air defenses of countries targeted for devastating first strikes.
Eleven days later, August 18, the U.S. Air Force Space Command “activated a new unit…to better organize space and cyberspace capabilities”
To illustrate what purposes space and cyberspace are to play in future warfighting plans, the Space Command’s top military officer, Gen. C. Robert Kehler, said of his command that it “is committed to organizing and equipping the 24th Air Force so it can be a premiere organization dedicated to supporting combatant commanders.” 
The United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command has boosted activity on its High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and on August 10 the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency employed a modified Boeing 747 passenger airliner to conduct the most advanced test yet of its Airborne Laser missile defense system and the Missile Defense Agency announced plans to next use the weapon against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) during their boost phase.
MEADS: NATO And Pentagon To Cover Europe With Layered Missile Shield
Returning to Europe and so-called missile defense, the Obama administration has requested almost $600 million in funding for the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) for next year and “Congress is on track to support the Administration’s request.”  MEADS is a joint U.S.-German-Italian-NATO theater interceptor missile program to upgrade current Patriot and Nike Hercules systems in Europe under NATO management and “will provide capabilities beyond any other fielded or planned air and missile defense system. It will be easily deployed to a theater of operation.” 
“The U.S. provides 58 percent of funding with Germany offering 25 percent and Italy and other NATO members contributing 17 percent. MEADS is designed to provide air defense from ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft.” 
MEADS is to consist of:
•A sophisticated X-band radar;
•A surveillance radar with 360 degree coverage;
•A tactical operations center;
•The next-generation Patriot interceptor. 
The upgraded Patriot is the new Lockheed Martin “hit-to-kill” PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement interceptor, one which exceeds the range and accuracy of the standard PAC-3 which itself covers seven times the area of the original Patriot and has double the striking distance.
“MEADS International, the joint venture executing the contract, announced on August 5 that the system had completed is component-level critical design reviews and that MEADS will begin system-level reviews.
“If the U.S. moves forward with the systems for the Czech Republic and Poland, however, it is reasonable to demand that the Germans and Italians express support for the fielding of the long-range missile defenses for U.S. and Europe….MEADS will provide a transportable missile and air defense capability. This means the system will be able to accompany expeditionary ground forces to wherever they are deployed and protect these forces against air and missile attacks. Thus, MEADS will be a critical element of alliance force projection capabilities.
“MEADS is interoperable with other defense systems. MEADS is not a standalone system. It can work in association with other missile defense systems, including the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and the Aegis sea-based missile defense systems….MEADS, as with the longer-range defenses that should be fielded in the Czech Republic and Poland, may be able to make a material contribution the Active Layered Theater Ballistic Missile Defense system that NATO planners are currently designing.” 
Any hopes that a new post-Cold War order, a new century or a new American administration would herald a more peaceful and less dangerous world are being gravely challenged.
1) Bloomberg News, January 2, 2009
2) Reuters, August 20, 2009
4) Czech News Agency, August 20, 2009
5) Reuters, August 20, 2009
6) Aviation Week, August 20, 2009
7) Associated Press, July 30, 2009
8) Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 457,
No. 1, 78-87 (1981)
9) NATO Nuclear Planning Group, June 3-4, 1980
10) North Atlantic Treaty Organization, July 8, 2009
11) Zaman, July 31, 2009
12) Time, June 19, 2008
13) Reuters, May 23, 2007
14) Russian Information Agency Novosti, December 12, 2008
15) Council on Foreign Relations, March 18, 2009
16) Voice of Russia, September 12, 2007
17) Voice of Russia, August 7, 2007
18) Daily Telegraph, November 14, 2007
19) Washington Times, November 27, 2009
20) Russian Information Agency Novosti,
November 20, 2007
21) United States Navy, April 30, 2009
22) U.S. Department of Defense, American Forces Press Service, August 19, 2009
23) Heritage Foundation, August 17, 2009
25) Aviation Week, August 20, 2009
26) Heritage Foundation, August 17, 2009