The border crisis. SDI and Iron Dome

View 832 Friday, July 11, 2014

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009


More locusts devour time at Chaos Manor, but it is time to comment on the border situation. Fortunately, Peggy Noonan has done that well:


Her conclusion is chilling:

"There is every sign (Obama) let the crisis on the border build to put heat on Republicans and make them pass his idea of good immigration reform. It would be "comprehensive," meaning huge, impenetrable and probably full of mischief. His base wants it. It would no doubt benefit the Democratic Party in the long term.

The little children in great danger, holding hands, staring blankly ahead, are pawns in a larger game. That game is run by adults. How cold do you have to be to use children in this way?"


As to what can be done: First, what do we want to do with them? It is pretty clear that those who get here have passed a survival test of some importance, or have good luck: either is of great value to future Janissaries.

The Turks used to levy tribute on their conquered Christian provinces: send us your children. The boys were then enslaved, forcibly converted, and trained to be the elite of the Sultan’s army. Obviously a Republic cannot do this, but it is rapidly becoming clear that we aren’t living in a Republic.

I start with Los Angeles, where the city owned Department of Water and Power is an independent fiefdom subject to no financial control, and whose Union Business Rep controls a pair of “non – profit” corporations that receive $4 million a year in city tax funds. It has already received and spent $40 million. No one but the union boss knows how that money was spent: it was paid in salaries and expenses, but to whom, and how much to whom, and expenses for what are questions he says are private to the corporations, because the money is no longer public money after the corporations receive it. Two court actions have ordered him to produce the records, but he has appealed, and now appeals the denials of his appeals, and it is clear that years will go by before there is any resolution. And now the City Council has tried to not pay the $4 million that is due, but he has said that they must pay. Since almost all of them were elected with campaign funds donated by his union it looks as if the money will be paid, ‘just in case.’ Otherwise there will be trouble.

If this is democracy (and looking at Greece and Italy it appears to be that) then surely whatever we had back when I was young, whatever you call it, was preferable?

It is the same here: whatever we propose regarding the immigrant children, the lawyers and courts will prevent it from being done. About all we can do is tell the United States Air Force to fly them home. All of them. Take them to their country of origin. How do we determine that? It’s not hard. Perhaps make it one more of the tests: they survived getting here now have they learned survival skills like English and ways to charm or hoodwink Federal Agents? Those who haven’t get sent home. That gets that lesson across. And don’t publicize the exceptions, the one smart enough to get past all that: them we send to good schools where they can learn citizenship. It would be useful to have a supply of young people who grow up with a good education and have been taught patriotism. Let them go to the schools our military people send their own children to. In fact, let some become children of the regiments… It has worked for nations other than the Turks…

I suppose it’s late and I am tired. I can’t be meaning all this. Forget the exceptions. Send them all home. But that’s not a comforting thought either. And I keep thinking, if they’re tough enough to get here, and smart enough to get past our gate dragons, then don’t we want them on our side? And should someone be learning patriotism and love of America in schools, now that our public schools don’t want to teach that?


In Fall 1980 after the election President-elect Ronald Reagan asked General Schriever to write transition team papers on space and defense policy.  General Schriever assigned that task to Dr. Francis X. Kane, Col. USAF Ret., who had been his Director of Plans in Systems Command.  Duke Kane was the unacknowledged co-author of The Strategy of Technology by Stefan T. Possony and Jerry Pournelle. He asked me to help in performing this task.  I asked Larry Niven if he could host about 60 experts, ranging from Buzz Aldrin and Pete Conrad to George Merrick and Dr. Gould of North American, Max Hunter of Douglas, Lowell Wood, General Graham, and a number of others for a long weekend meeting where we would hammer out policy papers.  He agreed if I’d chair the meeting. Mrs. Niven with a crew of volunteers would do the cooking, serving all meals so we could keep working without going out.

The papers were delivered to the President.  There were subsequent meetings. All urged that the United States adopt a policy of strategic and tactical defense.  This was one origin of the SDI policy, and many concepts, and several exact quotes appear in the President’s “Star Wars” speech in 1983.





July 11, 2014

A daily compilation of excerpted news stories from around the world dealing with missile defense or of interest to the missile defense community. Use of articles does not reflect official endorsement.


1) PENTAGON DIALS BACK LONGSTANDING ASSESSMENT THAT IRAN COULD TEST ICBM BY 2015, Inside Defense, July 10, 2014. The Pentagon in a new report to Congress is dialing back a longstanding assessment that Iran could flight-test by 2015 an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the United States, an apparent break with U.S. intelligence estimates since 1999. An unclassified executive summary of the Annual Report on Military Power of Iran, dated January 2014 and not previously reported, does not — unlike past years — offer an assessment of the technical feasibility of Iran’s potential to demonstrate an ICBM capable of reaching the United States in 2015. Instead, the two-page executive summary states: "Iran has publicly stated it may launch a space launch vehicle by 2015 that could be capable of intercontinental ballistic missile ranges if configured as a ballistic missile."…

2) S. KOREA CONDEMNS NORTH MISSILE TEST AS ‘SERIOUS PROVOCATION’, Agence France Presse, July 10, 2014. South Korea on Thursday condemned a series of missile launches by nuclear-armed North Korea as a "serious provocation" that threatened stability on the peninsula. The South’s defense ministry expressed particular concern over the launch Wednesday of two short-range ballistic missiles from a front-line base near the western section of the heavily guarded border. "We see the recent series of North Korean missile launches as a serious provocation toward South Korea and the international community as it endangers stability on the Korean peninsula and violates UN resolutions," ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok said. UN resolutions bar the North from conducting any ballistic missile tests. Wednesday’s test was "unusual", the spokesman said, because the missiles were fired from a sensitive location close to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) which has bisected the peninsula since the 1950-53 Korean war ended in a fragile armistice. "It appeared to be aimed at delivering a message… that South Korea could be the target of surprise attacks by North Korean ballistic missiles anytime and from any place," Kim said…

3) RUSSIA’S ISKANDER-E MISSILE SYSTEM READY FOR DELIVERIES TO OTHER COUNTRIES, RIA Novosti, July 10, 2014. Iskander-E mobile theater ballistic missile systems are ready for export, awaiting a decision by state authorities, the head of the Russian delegation to arms and military exhibition MILEX-2014 Valery Varlamov said Thursday. "Iskander-E [NATO reporting name: SS-26 Stone] is ready for deliveries to other countries, as well as S-400 Triumf [NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler], but the state authorities need to approve it first," Varlamov said. The representative said that Russia "will deliver [the systems] to any country, if there is such a decision of the president and the government." A few years ago, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that S-400 will be produced only in the interests of Russia. Even partners such as Belarus and Kazakhstan will receive them only after the Russian missile defense system is fully equipped, the ministry said…

4) TESTS OF THE NEWEST ANTIMISSILE SYSTEM S-500 ARE UNDERWAY, DEFENSE and SECURITY (Russia) – Rossiyskaya Gazeta, July 9, 2014. Test launches of the long-range missile for advanced air defense missile system S-500 passed successfully. Missiles of this type will be able to kill all types of air targets including tactical and even strategic missiles. This means that it is possible to say that air defense of the country and Ground Forces will receive mobile air defense missile systems with antimissile defense elements. S-500 Prometey is being currently developed by specialists of air defense corporation Almaz-Antey. It will supplement the well-known S-300 systems and the S-400 systems that are being supplied to the troops now.

5) ROCKET FIRE FROM LEBANON STRIKES ISRAEL, JOINING GAZA MISSILES AS OFFENSIVE ENTERS ITS 4TH DAY, Associated Press, July 11, 2014. Gaza rocket fire struck a gas station and set it ablaze Friday in southern Israel, seriously wounding one person as rocket fire also came from Lebanon for the first time in the four-day offensive. The attack on the gas station in Ashdod looked to be the most serious attack in Israel in the four days of fighting that has seen Israel deliver a heavy blow to Gaza’s Hamas leaders… In northern Israel, rocket fire struck near the Lebanese border and the military responded with artillery fire toward the source in southern Lebanon, military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said. The Lebanese military said three rockets were fired toward Israel around 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) and the Israelis retaliated by firing about 25 artillery shells on the area…Southern Lebanon is a stronghold of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, which has battled Israel numerous times. However, recent fire from Lebanon has been blamed on radical Palestinian factions in the area and Hezbollah has not been involved in the ongoing offensive. A Lebanon-based al-Qaida-linked group, the Battalions of Ziad Jarrah, claimed responsibility in the past for similar rocket attacks on Israel…

6) NORTHERN ISRAEL HIT BY ROCKET FROM LEBANON: ARMY, Agence France Presse, July 11, 2014. A rocket fired from Lebanon struck northern Israel early Friday, causing troops to hit back with artillery fire over the border, the Israeli army said. The rocket hit an open area near Metula at Israel’s northernmost tip without causing casualties or damage, the army said…A military spokeswoman told AFP that Israel had filed a complaint to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which monitors the border between Lebanon and Israel, following the incident…Military officials told the radio they believed the attack was carried out by a small Palestinian group in an act of solidarity with militants from Gaza’s Islamist Hamas movement who are engaged in a major confrontation with the Israeli army which began on Tuesday. ..Troops "managed to find rocket launch pads, as well as two rockets ready for launching. A military expert arrived at the scene and dismantled the projectiles," the statement said. It added that Israel had launched "25 shells" at Lebanon, causing no casualties…

7) ROCKET HITS ASHDOD GAS STATION, ONE SERIOUS INJURY, Arutz Sheva, July 11, 2014. A rocket fired by terrorists in the Hamas enclave of Gaza hit a gas station in the coastal city of Ashdod on Friday morning, causing at least one serious injury. ..Gaza terrorists have only continued to increase the rate of fire, with sirens being sounded as far north as Haifa on Thursday night, making it the first time since the 2006 Second Lebanon War. The terrorists have fired 407 mortars and rockets that struck Israel, with another 118 rockets being shot down by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system since the start of Operation Protective Edge on Monday, an IDF spokesperson told AFP. Those rockets were joined by a rocket from a new front on Friday morning, as a Katyusha rocket was fired from Lebanon on the upper Galilee in Israel’s far north. The IDF returned artillery fire on the source of the fire…

8) 3 ROCKETS DOWNED OVER TEL AVIV, HAMAS SAYS FIRED ON AIRPORT, Agence France Presse, July 11, 2014. Three Gaza rockets were shot down over the Tel Aviv area on Friday as Hamas militants claimed they had fired M75 missiles at Ben Gurion airport. All three were shot down by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, an army statement said. "Three rockets were launched at central Tel Aviv. All three were intercepted over the Tel Aviv metropolitan area," it said. The rocket fire was claimed by Hamas militants in Gaza who said they had launched "four M75 missiles at Ben Gurion airport" just outside Tel Aviv. A spokesman for Israel’s Airport Authority told AFP Ben Gurion airport was closed down for "nine minutes" but then resumed operations as normal. Witnesses in Tel Aviv said four or five explosions were heard shortly after sirens wailed across the area, sending people fleeing for cover…

9) TEL AVIV AND JERUSALEM TARGETED AS MILITANTS INTENSIFY ROCKET ATTACKS, The Guardian (UK), July 10, 2014. Tel Aviv and Jerusalem were both targeted by rocket fire on Thursday as Palestinian militants launched their most intense barrage against southern and central Israel since the beginning of the latest conflict with Hamas in Gaza. Many residents awoke to explosions that shook buildings even in the north of Tel Aviv, while air raid sirens sounded later in the morning forcing thousands of residents to run to bomb shelters or take refuge in the stairwells of their buildings. Later in the day a volley of rockets was shot down in the skies over the city. On the beach in north Tel Aviv, sunbathers and swimmers stopped to gaze at the sky as Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted rockets. Later on Thursday, residents of both Jerusalem and Bethlehem reported hearing explosions in the skies. There have been no casualties in any of the rocket attacks on Israel from Palestinian militants so far. Iron Dome has managed to prevent any rockets landing in Tel Aviv, but the first barrage this morning saw shrapnel fall over Florentin, a trendy southern neighborhood popular with artists, musicians and writers…"[We’ve had] three interceptions over Tel Aviv in the past 24 hours, so the city is prepared for any scenarios. There might be more missiles. We know that our military believes that there is a long-range arsenal that is not being used," he said…

10) HAMAS’S DEADLY REACH: WILL NEW MISSILES DENT ISRAEL’S IRON DOME?, The Globe and Mail (Canada), July 10, 2014. The Hamas-fired missile that slammed into Hadera – an Israeli seaside town midway between Tel Aviv and Haifa – likely travelled a long, circuitous and murky route from Syria via Iran, Sudan and Egypt before its last flight from Gaza on Tuesday. The missile, believed to be a Syrian-made M-302 Khaibar, eluded Israel’s much-vaunted Iron Dome anti-missile shield and heralds a new and deadlier phase in the vicious war of indiscriminate attacks on population centres. With a range of at least 100 kilometres, the Khaibars give Hamas a fearful new weapon capable of reaching most of Israel’s population, including well beyond Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the nation’s main airport. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly accused Iran of being the primary arms supplier to Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls the Gaza strip…

11) ISRAELI ROCKET DEFENSE SYSTEM IS FAILING, EXPERT ANALYSTS SAY, MIT Technology Review, July 10, 2014. Even though Israel’s U.S.-funded "Iron Dome" rocket-defense interceptors appear to be hitting Hamas rockets in recent days, they are almost certainly failing in the crucial job of detonating those rockets’ shrapnel-packed explosive warheads, expert analysts say…On Thursday, the Israel Defense Forces said missiles from the system had intercepted 56 rockets fired out of Gaza, preventing strikes in several cities. Yet Richard Lloyd, a weapons expert and consultant who is a past Engineering Fellow at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, says that because these interceptions had almost certainly not detonated the rockets’ warheads, the system is essentially failing. The Iron Dome system-meant to hit rockets traveling tens of miles from launch to landing-is a smaller cousin to the Patriot system, which attempts to hit much longer-range, faster incoming missiles. Iron Dome fires interceptors six inches wide and 10 feet long and uses sensors and real-time guidance systems to try to zero in on the rockets. When an Iron Dome interceptor gets close to an incoming rocket, a proximity fuse triggers the interceptor to detonate, spraying out metal rods that are intended to strike and detonate the warheads on the incoming rockets, neutralizing their ability to maim people and destroy things on the ground…

12) GORTNEY: DEFENDING HOMELAND A ‘SACRED TRUST’ FOR MILITARY, American Forces Press Service, July 10, 2014. Defending the homeland is a sacred trust for the military, and U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command are at the center of that effort, Navy Adm. William E. Gortney told a Senate panel today. Gortney, who testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed Army Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr. as the commander of these two important posts. The headquarters of both are in Colorado Springs, Colorado…Ballistic missile defense is an important part of his duties. Gortney emphasized the nation needs to make necessary investments in the proper maintenance and modernization of the existing ground-based interceptors. Following that, it is imperative the nation improve "the kill vehicle itself and then improvement to the sensors that would allow us to better discriminate the threats that might be coming to the homeland," he said…


1) MISSILE DEFENSES WORK, The Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2014. The Palestinian terror group Hamas continues to attack Israeli civilians with dozens of rockets launched each day from Gaza, and as we went to press on Thursday no Israeli had been killed. This wasn’t due to some Holy Land miracle but to the stunning success of Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system. The Hamas missiles lack accurate guidance systems, so they are essentially shots in the dark. The Israelis don’t activate the Iron Dome system unless they judge that the missiles could hit a civilian or military target. quotes Israeli defense sources as saying Iron Dome had been activated to intercept about 27% of the roughly 180 missiles that had been fired between Monday night and midday Wednesday, successfully intercepting nine out of 10. U.S. sources have confirmed the Israeli figures. That’s a remarkable record since Iron Dome is essentially firing a bullet to intercept a bullet…

2) MISSILE DEFENSE IS SAVING ISRAELIS, Investor’s Business Daily, July 10, 2014. Israel’s Iron Dome system has intercepted nearly 90% of the Hamas rockets that it has targeted. It’s time that the free world embraced Ronald Reagan’s vision of a defensive shield against all our enemies. Top ex-Soviets cite Reagan’s commitment to building his vision of a nuclear missile defense "peace shield" — the Strategic Defense Initiative — as a central cause of the demise of the Soviet Union. Vladimir Lukhim, for instance, a high-ranking Soviet official who would become Moscow’s ambassador to the U.S., said in 1992 that it was "clear that SDI accelerated our catastrophe by at least five years." Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev so feared a U.S. nuclear missile defense that he offered the U.S. unprecedented concessions in nuclear arms talks in a fruitless attempt to get Reagan to abandon SDI. And this week, the use of missile defense to save Israeli lives from airborne Hamas terrorism confirms how well Reagan’s much-maligned idea ended up working…Israel is one of a dozen nations using Raytheon’s battle-tested Patriot Air and Missile Defense System. Others include Egypt, Germany, Japan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Taiwan… ________________________________________

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