Last week, Kennette Benedict argued that NATO's contentious missile defense shield was actually a dud that didn't work. The gist:
Independent scientists and engineers in the United States and Russia have consistently judged past efforts to be failures, and they have written detailed reviews showing why the plans for such missile defenses are not technically feasible. Yet, in spite of these technical critiques and negative results, the US government has persisted in its claims of success. Until now.
A little-noticed report released in September 2011 by the Defense Science Board, an independent advisory committee to the US Defense Department, found three major problems with the Early Intercept Ballistic Missile Defense now being developed. Apparently, (1) none of the necessary radars in the European Phased Adaptive Approach defense system are powerful enough to work, (2) none of the existing missile defense sensors can reliably distinguish among warheads, decoys, and other debris, and (3) US intelligence already has observed foreign ballistic missile launches that can deploy decoys and other countermeasures. So, after 27 years of development and $150 billion spent, there still is no effective missile shield -- it is still a dream.
NATO says its missile defense system is flexible and adaptive and deployments would correspond to the ballistic missile threat from the south. (Because of Turkish sensitivity, NATO cannot explicitly label Iran as the threat.) It is this adaptive uncertainty, not today's capabilities, that most concerns Russia. US radars and satellites could be upgraded and integrated to work jointly with additional ally and partner sensors to seriously "beef up" the system's efficiency, Deputy Chief of General Staff Colonel-General Vladimir Gerasimov said PPT. Colonel Evgeny Ilyin added that the mobility of sea-based assets, the numbers of deployed interceptors, and their velocities were among the other factors that, if enhanced, could pose a threat to Russia. Moscow is unsure about the NATO system's parameters but knows what they should not be.
It's worth reading in full to get the full sense of Russia's concerns.