Updated List of Claims about GMD Effectiveness (April 14, 2016)

This is an updated list (previous version was June 16, 2015) of claims by U.S. government officials about the effectiveness of the U.S. Ground-Based Midcourse (GMD) national missile defense system.  It adds four additional claims (#33, #34, #35 and #36).

(1) September 1, 2000: “… I simply cannot conclude, with the information I have today, that we have enough confidence in the technology and the operational effectiveness of the entire NMD system to move forward to deployment. Therefore, I have decided not to authorize deployment of a national missile defense at this time.”  President Bill Clinton, at Georgetown University, September 1, 2000.

(2) March 18, 2003:  “Effectiveness is in the 90% range.[1]   Edward Aldridge, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

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Updated BMD Overview and GMD Presentations (May 27, 2015)

This post updates my post of  June 26, 2013, in which I collected together a number of the publicly available MDA Overview  and GMD System type briefings by MDA or other military/government officials (if you have one I missed, please send it to me).  Thanks to Laura Grego at the Union of Concerned Scientists for obtaining the Todorov slides and most recent Syring briefing (one by FOIA, the other just by asking MDA).

MDA Deputy Director Brigadier General Kenneth Todorov, April 2015: Todorov-CSIS-April72015

MDA Program Executive for Advanced Technology Richard Matlock: SMDC2014–Matlock-Adv-Tech

MDA Director Vice Admiral J. D. Syring, August 13, 2014: Slides: SyringAugust2014SMDC-Slides  Transcript: SyringAugust2014SMDCtranscript

MDA Director Vice Admiral J. D. Syring, August 2013: SyringAugust2013SMDC

MDA Program Executive for Advanced Technology Richard Matlock, August 2013: 2013-08-15-Matlock-AdvancedTechnology

MDA Director Vice Admiral James Syring, February 2013: BMD-Update-Syring-February2013

MDA Deputy Director Rear Admiral Randall M. Hendrickson, August 14, 2012: BMD-Update-Hendrickson-August 2012

“U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense,” Moscow, May 2012: US-BMD-Moscow-May2012

MDA Director Lt. General Patrick O’Reilly, March 2012: BMD-Update-O’Reilly-March 2012

MDA Director Lt. General Patrick O’Reilly, August 2011: BMD-Overview-O’Reilly-August2011

MDA Director Lt. General Patrick O’Reilly, September 2009: BMD-Overview-O’Reilly-September2009

MDA Director Lt. General Patrick O’Reilly, May 2009: BMD-Update-O’Reilly-May 2009

MDA Director Lt. General Trey Obering, May 2008: OberingMay2008NDIA

MDA Executive Director Dr. Patricia Sanders, June 2007: BMD-Overview-Sanders-June2007

MDA Director Lt. General Trey Obering, March 2007: BMD-Overview-Obering-March 2007

MDA Deputy Director Brigadier General Patrick O’Reilly, January 2007: BMD-Overview-O’Reilly- January 2007

THAAD Flight Tests Since 2005 (January 27, 2014)

Flight tests of Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system since
developmental testing resumed in 2005 and planned future tests.

FTT-01 (November 22, 2005:  First launch of an operationally-configured THAAD interceptor.[1]  The launch, conducted at the White Sands Test Range (WSMR), successfully demonstrated the operation of missile and kill vehicle, although no target was used and thus no intercept was attempted.  The THAAD TPY-2 radar does not appear to have participated in this test.

FTT-02 (May 11, 2006): Second flight test of operational THAAD interceptor.[2]  No actual target was used.  This was the first test to include all of the THAAD system components, including the TPY-2 radar.  The radar provided simulated target data to the THAAD fire control system.  Test was conducted at WSMR and was reported as successful.

FTT-03 (July 12, 2006):  First intercept attempt and first successful intercept using an operational interceptor.[3]  The target was a non-separating, short-range missile (a Hera missile) and the intercept took place in the high endoatmosphere.  It was an integrated system test in which the THAAD TPY-2 radar acquired and tracked the target and provided in-flight updates.  Test was conducted at WSMR.

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Updated List of Claims about GMD Effectiveness (January 16, 2014)

 

Updated list of claims by U.S. government officials about the effectiveness of the U.S. Ground-Based Midcourse (GMD) System.  This iteration adds four  additional claims (mostly older).  They are #4, #9, #26 and #28 below.  Also added is a quote (#29) on defending Guam, since Guam is U.S. territory but is not covered by the GMD system.

(1) September 1, 2000: “… I simply cannot conclude, with the information I have today, that we have enough confidence in the technology and the operational effectiveness of the entire NMD system to move forward to deployment. Therefore, I have decided not to authorize deployment of a national missile defense at this time.”  President Bill Clinton, at Georgetown University, September 1, 2000.

(2) March 18, 2003:  “Effectiveness is in the 90% range.[1]   Edward Aldridge, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

 

(3) March 23, 2003:There are a lot of things that go into [determining] effectiveness.  Everybody can be right.[2] MDA Director Ronald Kadish, in response to a question about Aldridge’s statement.

(4) July 21, 2005: “We have a better than zero chance of intercepting, I believe, an inbound warhead.”  That confidence will improve with time.”  MDA Director Lt. General Henry Obering.[3]

(5) March 14, 2006:When the president declares limited defensive operational capability, we are prepared as the shooter, if you will, to execute the mission to defend our country.  And I’m very confident in the efficacy of that system.[4]  Admiral Timothy Keating, Commander of U.S. Northern Command.

(6) June 2006:(From) what I have seen and what I know about the system and its capabilities I am very confident.[5]  MDA Director Lt. Gen. Henry Obering.

(7) July 6, 2006:If it headed to the United States, we’ve got a missile defense system that will defend our country.” President George W. Bush in response to a question on Larry King Live about North Korea’s unsuccessful test of a long-range ballistic missile the day before.

(8) September 1, 2006:I would say that if we had to use the system in an operational mode, it would be very capable.[6] MDA Director Lt. Gen. Henry Obering.

(9) January 29, 2007: “We are Confident The Ballistic Missile Defense System Would Have Operated As Designed Had The Taepo Dong-2 Threatened The U.S.,” MDA Deputy Director Brigadier General Patrick O’Reilly.[7]

(10) October 2, 2007:– does the system work? The answer to that is yes. Is it going to work against more complex threats in the future?  We believe it will.”  MDA Director Lt. Gen. Henry Obering.[8]

(11) November 2, 2008:I have very high confidence we could defend the United States against that threat.[9] MDA Director Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, about one or two missiles launched from North Korea.

(12) March 27, 2009:And Senator, I’ll tell you, if we felt the North Koreans were going to shoot a ballistic missile at us today, I am comfortable that we would have an effective system able to meet that threat.”[10]  General Victor Renaurt, Commander U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Transportation Command.

(13) June 9, 2009:I think that the judgement and advice I got was that the 30 silos we have now, or are under construction, are fully adequate to protect us against a North Korean threat for a number of years.[11] And “I have confidence that if North Korea launched a long-range missile in the direction of the United States, that we would have a high probability of being able to defend ourselves against it.”  Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates.

(14) June 16, 2009: Confidence that a North Korean missile could be shot down is: “ninety percent plus.”[12]  MDA Director Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly.

(15) June 18, 2009 (approximately):  “I’d believe we have a reasonable chance” of intercepting a North Korean missile.  Director of Operational Test and Evaluation Charles McQueary, in an interview on his last day in the job.[13]

(16) July 28, 2009:Well, we have a very proven missile system in the area of missiles coming out of North Korea.[14]  MDA Director Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly.

(17) April 21, 2010:It is the belief of the — of the leaders of this department that we have the capability to defend the United States against the — against an ICBM threat from a rogue nation such as Iran or North Korea.  We are confident in the system we have at this point.[15]  Geoff Morrell, Pentagon Press Secretary.

(18) December 1, 2010: “…the probability will be well in the high 90s today of the GMD system being able to intercept that today.” MDA Director Patrick O’Reilly in response to a question from Representative Trent Franks about countering “one ICBM coming from Tehran to New York.”[16]

(19) April 13, 2011:The posture we have today is one that has us well-protected against the initial ICBMs that might be deployed by states like North Korea and Iran with — that are few in number, relatively slow and lack sophisticated countermeasures.”[17]  Bradley Roberts, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy.

(20) December 12, 2012: “I’m very confident that American defense capabilities are able, no problem, to block a rocket like this one.”  U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, in response to a question from CNN on the capability of U.S missile defenses, December 12, 2012.[18]

(21) March 7, 2013: “I can tell you that the United States is fully capable of defending against any North Korean ballistic missile attack.  And our recent success in returning to testing of the upgraded version of the so-called GBI, or the CE2 missile, will keep us on a good trajectory to improve our defense capability against limited ballistic missile threats such as those from North Korea.  But let’s be clear, we are fully capable of dealing with that threat.”  White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, in response to a question at White House Daily Press Briefing, March 7, 2013.[19]

(22) March 15, 2013: “We have confidence in our system.  And we certainly will not go forward with the additional 14 interceptors until we are sure that we have the complete confidence that we will need.  But the American people should be assured that our interceptors are effective.”  Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, in response to a question at a Pentagon press conference, March 15, 2013.

(23) April 9, 2013: I believe we have a credible ability to defend the homeland, to defend Hawaii, to defend Guam, to defend our forward-deployed forces and defend our allies.  Admiral Samuel Locklear, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, Senate Armed Services Committee, April 9, 2013 in response to a question about intercepting North Korean missiles.[20]

(24) May 9, 2013:We do have confidence in the ability of the ballistic missile defense system to defend the United States against a limited attack from both North Korea and Iran today and in the near future.” Lt. General Richard Formica, Commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command and Commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, in response to a question from Senator Mark Udall about the capability of “our current GMD system to defend all of the United States, including the East Coast, against current and near-term ballistic missile threats from both North Korea and Iran?”[21]

(25) May 9, 2013:The East Coast is well-protected as the result of — well, it was protected before the additional — and this additional ’14 provides additional protection both for anything from North Korea as well as anything from Iran should that threat develop.”  Madelyn Creedon, Assistant Defense Secretary for Global Strategic Affairs, in response to a question from Senator Mark Udall (and referring to the recently announced plan to deploy 14 additional interceptors in Alaska).[22] 

(26) July 2013: “I stand by my response in the testimony I provided on May 9.”  Lt. General Richard Formica, Commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, when asked about the effectiveness of the GMD System shortly after failure of FTG-07 on July 5, 2013.[23]

(27) July 10, 2013:  But we maintain that we have a robust missile defense system in place to defend the United States and our allies from a range of threats.”   “We have a range of assets that can support American missile defense, and we are confident that we can defend this country from the missile threat.” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little , July 9 2013 (four days after the failed FTG-07 intercept test of the GMD system).[24]

(28) Sometime before August 21, 2013:  “Of course you’re protected. Yes, you’re protected.  We’re proud to protect you.”  MDA Director Vice Admiral James Syring, in response to the question “Am I protected where I live?” asked by a person sitting next to him on an airplane.[25]

Bonus Quote on Defending Guam from a North Korean Missile Attack:

(29) April 5, 2013: THAAD together with other systems such as Aegis and Patriot could take out a missile launched by North Korea at Guam “fairly quickly.” “We are very confident of that.”  Major General Dana J. H. Pittard (Commander of Fort Bliss, home base for THAAD).[26]

 

 


[1]BAYH: Let me withdraw the question and move on. I think you see where I was heading. Let me ask you Mr. — Secretary Aldridge, about the effectiveness of the system that’s to be deployed in 2004 and 2005 in protecting against this developing North Korean threat — the 10 land-based missiles proposed for the end of fiscal year 2004 — how effective would they be against the North Korean missile if it were, in fact, launched against our country? ALDRIDGE: Well, we think that it would be effective. Probably shouldn’t go into a lot of details of… BAYH: Well, how do you define effective — 90 percent success rate — 75 — 50? ALDRIDGE: Yes, sir — you would — and you — the way you could achieve these rates is you don’t have to fire just one interceptor per target, you could fire two, as we do in PAC-3. BAYH: Of course. ALDRIDGE: And so the effectiveness is in the 90 percent range. Of course, we want the effectiveness to be high enough that we never have to use these things. I mean, that’s the ultimate effectiveness is that they’re never used. BAYH: There are — there are — there are — there are 10 going online in 2004 — 10 in 2005. The radar is not going to be available — when will that go into place — 2006? ALDRIDGE: Well, General Kadish has probably got the specific dates for all of those. Let him… KADISH: We’ll have radars online to handle the early warning and usefulness of the system in ’04, when we put the missiles on alert if everything works out all right. We’ll add the sea-based X-band (ph) if it proves out by — the following year — it’s currently scheduled by September of ’05. BAYH: So, Secretary Aldridge, your testimony is that with the 10 interceptors going in at the end of fiscal year ’04 and the radar that will be online at that time, we would have a 90 percent effectiveness in shooting down a NATO (ph) Dong II? ALDRIDGE: Well, it depends on — a lot depends on the continuation of the — of the test and the effective — this precise effectiveness numbers. But I would put — you know, as of today, the projected effectiveness would be in the 90 percent range. Senate Armed Services Committee, March 18, 2003.

[2] Randy Barrett. “Lawmakers Question Effectiveness of Missile Defense System.” Space News, March 24, 2003, p. 6.

[3] Ann Scott Tyson, “U.S. Missile Defense Being Expanded, General Says,” The Washington Post, p. A10, July 22, 2005.

[4] Jason Sherman, “Experts Question U.S. System’s Ability To Intercept North Korean Missile,” Inside Missile Defense, June 21, 2006.

[5] Robert Burns, “Missile Defense Chief Confident in Ability To Hit Missile,” The Associated Press State and Local Wire, June 23, 2006.

[6] Pentagon Briefing, September 1, 2006.

[7] “Missile Defense Program Overview For The Washington Roundtable On Science And Public Policy,” MDA Briefing Slides, Januaary 29, 2007.

[8] “DoD News Briefing with Gen. Renuart and Lt. Gen. Obering from the Pentagon, Arlington, Va.”, October 2, 2007.

[9] “Obama To Be Told U.S. Missile Defense Capable, General Says,” CNN.com, November 2, 2008.

[10] Senate Armed Services Committee,  March 17, 2009.

[11] “I think that the judgement and advice I got was that the 30 silos we have now, or are under construction, are fully adequate to protect us against a North Korean threat for a number of years.”

“I was just in Fort Greely last week, and its an immensly capable system.”  And one of the things that I think is important to remember is, it is still a developmental system.  It has real capabilities, and I have confidence that if North Korea launched a long-range missile in the direction of the United States, that we would have a high probability of being able to defend ourselves against it.”

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Hearing of the Defense Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, June 9, 2009.

[12] SEN Bayh: I’ve bumped up against my time limits here, but there was one final question.  You’re briefing the President of the United States.  He asks you based on — you know,  he’s got to take into consideration what you’re doing in terms of facing these threats.  He asks you if there is a rogue launch, what are the percentages that we’re going to be able to hit it and bring it down, what would you tell him?

GEN. O’Reilly: Ninety percent plus.

SEN. Bayh: Ninety percent plus confidence that we could  — if there’s a rogue launch from North Korea, let’s say, we could intercept that target and bring it down?

Gen. O’Reilly: Yes. Sir.

Hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, June 16, 2009.

[13] Viola Gienger, “Gates: Take Defense Steps,” The Salt Lake Tribune, June 18, 2009.

[14] Gen O’ Reilly: ‘Well, we have a very proven missile system in the area of missiles coming out of North Korea.  The testing we have done to date, we have a lot of testing still to do against all our capability in all scenarios, but in the scenarios out of North Korea, we have intercepted three times out of Fort Greely, Alaska.  The missiles, we actually test them out of Vandenberg, but they’re up at Fort Greely. And then for Hawaii, we have multiple systems (inaudible).  A theater high-altitude-area defense system, its an Army mobile system, and then we have the Navy Aegis system.  And we also have the…”    Margaret Brennan, “US Missile Defense Director Patrick O’Reilly on Bloomberg TV,” Bloomberg TV, July 28, 2009.

[15]“DOD News Briefing with Geoff Morrell from the Pentagon,” News Transcript, U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), April 21, 2010.  Available at:  http://www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=4612.   Morrell is the Pentagon Press Secretary.

[16] Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, December 1, 2010.

[17] “Now what does that mean?  The posture we have today is one that has us well-protected against the initial ICBMs that might be deployed by states like North Korea and Iran with — that are few in number, relatively slow and lack sophisticated countermeasures.  And against this threat, we have the current posture of 30 GBIs and the expected enhancements to come in the defense of the homeland with the future deployment in 2020 time frame of SM-3 2B.”  Opening statement of Bradley Roberts, Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy, Hearing of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, April 13, 2011.

[18] Bradley Clapper, “U.S. Hesitant in Condemning North Korean Launch,” The Associated Press, December 13, 2012.

[19]The White House, “Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney,” March 7, 2013.  Available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/03/07/press-briefing-press-secretary-jay-carney-372013

[20] SEN. MCCAIN: Do you believe that we have the ability to intercept a missile if the North Koreans launch a missile, as is widely reported they would do in coming days.

ADM. LOCKLEAR: I believe we have a credible ability to defend the Homeland, to defend Hawaii, to defend Guam, to defend our forward-deployed forces and defend our allies.

SEN. MCCAIN: Do we have the capability to intercept a missile if the North Koreans launch within the next several days?

ADM. LOCKLEAR: We do.

[21] Hearing of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, May 9, 2013.

[22] Hearing of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, May 9, 2013.

[23] Jason Sherman, “Top Army General Still Confident ib=n GMD System Despite Intercept Test Failure,” Inside Defense SITREP, July 10, 2013.

[24] U.S. Department of Defense, “Department of Defense News Briefing with George Little,” News Transcript, July 9, 2013.  Available at: http://www.defense.gov/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=5269.

[25] Amy Guckeen Tolson, “MDA Director Gives Update on Missile Defense,” www.theredstonerocket.com, August 21, 2013.

[26] Donna Miles, “Missile Defenders Trained, Ready for Deployment, General Says,” American Forces Press Service, April 5, 2013.

Updated Table of Aegis Intercept Tests (September 20, 2013)

Here is an updated table of Aegis BMD intercept tests (see note below the table for how to view a much more readable version of the table).

Target Key: S = short-range, M = medium-range, IR = intermediate range, U = unitary (non-separating), Sp = separating

Click on the rectangular icon at the right (next to the plus and minus magnifiers) to get a much more readable version.

Aegis BMD and Related Briefings (September 12, 2013)

As described in my post of September 10, I am now compiling collections of official briefings on missile defense topics in “Missile Defense Compilations” section of the blog.  This post includes briefings on Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) and related topics:

Rear Admiral Jim Syring (Program Executive Office, Integrated Warfare Systems, “Navy IAMD Capabilities,” July 12, 2012 (IAMD = Integrated Air and Missile Defense): 2012-7-SyringNavyAegis

Captain Brian Shipman (Aegis BMD Chief of Staff), “Aegis BMD Overview,” January 23, 2012: 2012-1Aegis_BMD_Overview_MAC_CAPT Shipman 23 AEGIS-Jan 12_ 2012-Shipman

Ms. Laura DeSimone (Deputy Program Executive, Aegis BMD), “Aegis BMD; The Way Ahead,” December 6, 2011: 2011-12AegisDeSimoneDec2011

Rear Admiral Joe Horn (Aegis BMD, MDA), “Aegis BMD Overview,” July 21, 2011:2011-7-Horn-SmallBusiness

Mr. Scott Perry (MDA), “Aegis BMD Update,” July 14, 2011: 2011-7-Aegis-Perry

Captain Mike Anderson (Aegis BMD Technical Director, MDA), “C4I Evolution,” February 11, 2011: 2011-2-Anderson

Rear Admiral Joe Horn (Aegis BMD Program Executive), “Aegis BMD Overview,” July 13, 2010: 2010-7-AegisBMDOverview-RDMLHorn

Vice Admiral J.T. Blake (Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Integration of Requirements and Resources), “Integrated Air and Missile Defense,” July 13, 2010: 2010-07-IAMD-Blake

Rear Admiral Alan B. Hicks (Aegis BMD Program Director), “Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Overview,” August 3, 2009: 2009-8-AegisHicks

Rear Admiral Alan B. Hicks (Aegis BMD Program Director), “Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Overview,” June 18, 2008: 2008-6-AegisNDIA_Hicks

MDA, “Aegis BMD – Status, Integration, and Interoperability,” May 6, 2008: 2008-5-AegisBMD-StatusIntergrationandInteroperability

Rear Admiral Alan B. Hicks (Aegis BMD Program Director), “Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Overview,” November 28, 2007: 2007-11AegisHicks

MDA, “Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense,” September 28, 2006: 2006-6-Aegis06282006

Rear Admiral A. Brad Hicks, “Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System, December 19, 2005:  Link to briefing. 

MDA Overview Briefings (September 10, 2013)

In my post of June 26, 2013, I collected together a number of the publicly available “MDA Overview” type briefings.  It seems to me that it is worth doing such collections somewhat more systematically.  So I have created a new Category called “Missile Defense Compilations” (the “Category” listings are on the right side of the home page, after “Recent Posts” and “Archives”).  Today’s post is the first for this new category and is an expanded version of the June 16 collection of MDA Overview Briefings.  In this category I will also link to posts such as my one about Claims About GMD Effectiveness,  testing record compilations, and additional collections of briefings (Aegis BMD will be next).

Here are the MDA Overview type briefings, which will be updated as I come across additional briefings (if you have one I missed, please send it to me):

 MDA Director Vice Admiral J. D. Syring, August 2013: SyringAugust2013SMDC

MDA Program Executive for Advanced Technology Richard Matlock, August 2013: 2013-08-15-Matlock-AdvancedTechnology

MDA Director Vice Admiral James Syring, February 2013: BMD-Update-Syring-February2013

MDA Deputy Director Rear Admiral Randall M. Hendrickson, August 14, 2012: BMD-Update-Hendrickson-August 2012

“U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense,” Moscow, May 2012: US-BMD-Moscow-May2012

MDA Director Lt. General Patrick O’Reilly, March 2012: BMD-Update-O’Reilly-March 2012

MDA Director Lt. General Patrick O’Reilly, August 2011: BMD-Overview-O’Reilly-August2011

MDA Director Lt. General Patrick O’Reilly, September 2009: BMD-Overview-O’Reilly-September2009

MDA Director Lt. General Patrick O’Reilly, May 2009: BMD-Update-O’Reilly-May 2009

MDA Director Lt. General Trey Obering, May 2008: OberingMay2008NDIA

MDA Executive Director Dr. Patricia Sanders, June 2007: BMD-Overview-Sanders-June2007

MDA Director Lt. General Trey Obering, March 2007: BMD-Overview-Obering-March 2007

MDA Deputy Director Brigadier General Patrick O’Reilly, January 2007: BMD-Overview-O’Reilly- January 2007