Missile Roulette

Call this speculation, but the “canceled” planned missile defense system to have been based in Poland and the Czech Republic may have been rigged from the beginning. (Gasp!) Bad relations with Russia and the sinister glare of former president and hit man Mad Vlad Putin are of concern.

It is interesting there would be a presidential visit and BAM! an announcement soon after that we have found Iran’s nuclear deployment capabilities are far short of what we had thought.

(Oops.) And oh, here is our detailed plan for an alternative system, one that we jotted down on a cocktail napkin at 2 a.m. (Ok, we made up the latter.) Puh-lease. You’d have trouble selling that idea in an episode of TV’s “24.”

Is it possible this land-basing plan inside the former Soviet sphere of fear was a bargaining chip all along with the Ruskies?

The 10 or so land-based interceptors planned for Eastern Europe will be replaced by as many as 100 missiles on U.S. seagoing vessels. Clearly the latter affords the U.S. tighter control. It is still difficult to believe our intelligence on Iran’s nuke capabilities would be so far off. Regardless, we bet Chief of Naval Operations Gary Roughead is doing back flips over the news. This could translate to additional dollars for the Navy and maybe push the beleaguered sea service past the planned (albeit meager) 313 ships.

Though there were delays in ratification of the land-based plan by Poland and the Czech Republic that slowed the program by a reported two years, this sudden sea-basing option will commence Phase One in 2011 with the deployment of sea-based interceptors. That’s quick.

Under the old plan Boeing had the lead, but now at sea Lockheed Martin’s Aegis combat system and Raytheon’s Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptors rule. Lockheed is also one of two behemoths constructing the Navy’s littoral combat ships. Cha-ching.

The missiles are de rigueur. The Navy has long toted similar babies and has already modified 18 of its Arleigh Burke class destroyers (DDG 51) and Ticonderoga class cruisers (CG 47) to carry the more advanced SM-3 missile.

Sea-based deterrence (there’s an old term) will be under complete U.S. control in international waters. Protecting Europe from Iran? Sure. Why not? This possible ruse gives the U.S. and its defense department more power and increased cache with Old Europe and New. (Look out, France!) Why this was not announced as the plan from the beginning leads one to conclude this was some sort of bargaining chip with the Ruskies as mentioned earlier. Also, a sea-basing option might have drawn intense fire from European allies as well as the anti-defense crowd. All are now silenced and the plan seems to be cruising forward at warp speed.

Recent Posts