(continued from the previous post)
Yet this preemptive construction, which will require a substantial increase in the $16 billion budgeted for missile defense in the next two years, will likely create a system that is more Potemkin than preventative. The Pentagon still hasn't built key parts of the system, including a workable booster rocket, or the satellite sensors needed to detect incoming missiles and differentiate them from decoys. The radar system designed to be used with the interceptors exists only in prototype. The current interceptor has failed three of eight of its flight tests, and it hasn't even been tested yet against missiles with realistic decoys. Outside experts say such tests may not even be possible before the end of the decade.
The Post has already answered its hypothetical question "So why spend the money to deploy, given the absence of a tangible threat?" Because one we start spending, we're committed. Once we dig those holes in Alaska, we're bound to put something there, whether it really works or not. The Post is right to point out not only how faulty the decision is, but also--once again--that it's based on political, not policy, concerns.