Critics and Supporters Agree, Some Form of National Missile Defense Will Debut in 2004

The U.S. national missile defense system will almost certainly be fielded in 2004 — as U.S. President George W. Bush promised two years ago — but experts and officials are sharply divided over whether the system will be effective, Aerospace Daily reported today (see GSN, Dec. 17).

“I have no doubt they’ll have something in the ground,” said Victoria Samson, an analyst at the Center for Defense Information. “Whether or not I think it’s going to work is the question,” she added.

The continued nuclear standoff with North Korea and the November presidential elections are fueling the push toward fielding a missile defense system by the end of October, according to Aerospace Daily.

“The train is going down the track at 80 miles per hour, and I don’t see it being derailed,” said a congressional source. “It’s about as inevitable as something could be,” the source added.

Critics have said that the system needs further testing and development before it can be effectively fielded. They are concerned that Bush will deploy a faulty, expensive system simply to placate voters (Marc Selinger, Aerospace Daily, Jan. 6).

January 6, 2004
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The U.S. national missile defense system will almost certainly be fielded in 2004 — as U.S. President George W. Bush promised two years ago — but experts and officials are sharply divided over whether the system will be effective, Aerospace Daily reported today (see GSN, Dec. 17).

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