The U.S. Defense Department is preparing to deploy a sixth missile interceptor to Fort Greely, Alaska, by the end of the month, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Oct. 12).
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. is expected to receive its first two interceptors in November, according to AP. Two more are expected to be deployed there and 10 more at Fort Greely next year.
“We’re going through this shakedown period to make sure everything is working properly,” Rick Lehner, a spokesman for the Missile Defense Agency, said yesterday.
U.S. military command officials are expected to select a date for activation before the end of the year and then to brief the defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for final approval, said Mike Kucharek, a spokesman for the Northern Command in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Rachel D’Oro, Associated Press/Boston Globe, Oct. 12).
Meanwhile, a Russian defense expert told Interfax yesterday that the U.S. missile-defense deployment was a propaganda move and that the system was not technologically sound, MosNews.com reported.
“This became clear as early as in the ‘80s when the SDI system was discussed. The deployment of the first missile interceptors in Alaska, prepared for the presidential elections in the U.S., is nothing but a PR stunt,” said Igor Ostretsov, deputy director of the All-Russian Institute of Nuclear Energy Machine Building (MosNews.com, Oct. 12).