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Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans
for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be
limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI
all over again?
(7255 previous messages)
- 08:00pm Jul 19, 2001 EST (#7256
"The malfunction was first described by The Los Angeles Times
"Colonel Lehner asserted that the problem was not major, and
probably could be rectified by rewriting software.
Comment: This is provably untrue for real
computers, using results in standard texts such as Knuth.
"Over all, he contended, the test proves that the X-band radar
works. He said other sensors were able to confirm the intercept.
"Critics of the Bush administration's missile defense plans
said the failure was more significant than the Pentagon was willing
to admit. They contended that if the radar locked up when tracking
debris from a collision, adversaries could confound it by
surrounding their warheads with tiny scraps of metal, or chaff.
"That has to be right -- or if not chaff, in the
simple sense of the foil strips used in World War II -- then chaff
with themes and variations that can fool any specific
system that doesn't exactly anticipate the specific
geometries (and mix of geometries) that happens to be used.
""Chaff is simple and it's cheap," Joseph Cirincione, senior
associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,
said. "This underscores the unreality of these tests, how
carefully choreographed they are for success. They work only as long
as everything goes exactly according to plan."
"Philip E. Coyle III, the former director of testing for the
Pentagon, said that had the system malfunctioned in a real attack, a
battle manager might have continued firing interceptors at a target
that had been destroyed, wasting precious weapons.
Comment: the problems in battle management
simulation in the Coyle Report were massive and daunting --
results, by tactical standards, were terribly unsatisfactory in
fundamental ways not due to contractor error -- but due instead to
inherent difficulty of the task being undertaken.
"As the Pentagon makes its missile defense tests more
complicated, he said, software problems are likely to arise, raising
questions about whether the Pentagon will be able to have a system
ready for operation as quickly as the administration wants.
Comment: There have been major slippages,
consistently, on the program, and they have been going on for a
long time. Not even the simulations can be made to work, unless
the word "work" is given an almost comic and tactically
"Aides to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said he had not
been briefed about the problems with the X-band radar.
"In a news conference today, Mr. Rumsfeld said of Saturday's
test, "As with any test, you're testing any number of things, and
inevitably there are going to be one or two things, or more, that
you learn from that you need to do differently."
"He said he was pleased with the test, the second success out
of four tries in the last two years. "It's better to have two out of
four than one out of four," Mr. Rumsfeld said.
Yes, 2 > 1 .
* * * * * * * * * * *
Taking the data in the Coyle Report NATIONAL MISSILE DEFENSE
DEPLOYMENT READINESS REVIEW 10 August 2000 . . . . http://www.house.gov/reform/min/pdf/nmdcoylerep.pdf
. . . and connecting it to standard results in computer
programming, such as those set out in Knuth's The Art of Computer
Programming , it can be shown that the program cannot work
tactically in any sense that makes military sense . Even if
computer programming difficulties were the only difficulties -- and
there are other show-stoppers, too.
That conclusion is reinforced by this failure on what was a very
simplified and dumbed down test.
- 08:03pm Jul 19, 2001 EST (#7257
These results shouldn't be a surprise. The "unsurprising
surprise" is no miracles.
In crucial ways, these radars act as they'd be expected to on the
basis of the open literature.
This isn't a sensible military program -- it is a bunch of
marginal stunts, strung together, as it has been for years.
Good engineers are wasting their lives, and whole organizations
are becoming corrupted, trying to do a job that simply can't be
("Brilliant pebbles" would be WORSE. )
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