If a mock warhead is destroyed in space and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?
In case you were wondering about the latest potentially world-ending technology, Campus Progress has a great article this week on our Ballistic Missile Defense System, its “successes,” and our government’s apparent failure to think practically about the future.
Last week, the Pentagon announced they had launched a rocket interceptor that successfully destroyed a mock warhead in space. This was their first successful test run in nearly four years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Just as concerning as its very-low success rate is the message our continued support of the BMDS program sends to the rest of the world. Campus Progress’s Keith White, a student at the University of Virginia, is right on point with his commentary on the program:
Such a possibility encourages Russia and China to update their nuclear capabilities. This promises only a world with more WMD ingredients floating around. More WMD supplies bring more risk of nuclear theft or misuse. As Pakistani scientist AQ Khan notoriously demonstrated, one man in the right place can disseminate nuclear know-how around the globe.
Even more on point, White gets to the real problem with BMDS, which is that the biggest threat to global security is not missiles launched from Russia or China, but rather the low-scale, low-tech sort of warfare like dirty bombs and bioterrorism — things that can’t be handled by blowing stuff up in outer space.
According the Congressional Budget Office, the White House plans to spend $234 billion (PDF) on BMDS over the next 18 years. At least they don’t appear to have spent any of that money on coloring books to boost popularity with younger crowds, as Star Wars papa Ronald Reagan did in the ’80s.