Protecting U.S. Territory Against Long-Range Missiles: Second Approach Needed

The Department of Defense announced on July 5 that an intercept test earlier that day of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) missile defense system, which protects U.S. territory against long-range missiles, failed to result in a successful intercept. The GMD version that was tested is the system that is already in the field; thus, this was an operational test, not a developmental test. Unless the failure was due to a problem not related to the interceptor system—such as a failure of the test target missile—this is a serious setback for the GMD system. Further, the last successful test of the GMD system was in 2008, and the system has now achieved eight intercepts out of 14 attempts. Accordingly, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) should maintain another option for defending U.S. territory against long-range missiles.

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