A study on: Exploring U.S. Missile Defense Requirements in 2010: What Are the Policy and Technology Challenges?
Findings and Recommendations
Trying to predict the future of international political conditions is a task that has long frustrated intelligence departments and international relations scholars. For example, who, in 1948, when current U.S. attention was focused on the difficulties in Europe, predicted that the United States would fight its next two major land wars in Asia? Even more outlandish was the idea that within two years over 800,000 troops from a then non-existent Communist China would be battling U.S. forces in Korea. Nor was there any prior prediction that in 1956 the U.S. would be in a military confrontation with Britain and France over the Suez Canal. In 1960, who predicted the Cuban missile crisis, the expulsion of U.S. and NATO forces from France, or even the pending massive U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War? Conversely, the long-feared assault by the Red Army into Western Europe never occurred, and a number of political initiatives and arms control agreements acted to slow predicted proliferation trends. The fact that those failures to predict international events occurred during a relatively stable era of history, when global events were dominated by a bipolar structure, carries its own lesson for trying to predict future political behavior.
The difficulties in predicting the political course of the upcoming era are many. For example, How well will state parties deal with the changes expected to occur in the emerging era? The current unipolar international structure is almost certain to be challenged. If inter-national relations scholars such as Henry Kissinger and Kenneth Waltz are correct, the current unipolar situation is a transition phase to some new multipolar inter-national structure. This tran-sition could introduce a great deal of political instability into the international political system. Secondly, the power of economic factors to induce good behavior or punish recalcitrant states is another uncertainty in an era dominated by an inter-national economy.
As a result of these types of issues, the future era has the potential for being considerably more uncertain than was the case during the Cold War. It was common during the Cold War to hear claims that Soviet intentions were unpredictable and could change rapidly, but as its capabilities were fairly predictable (especially under an inflexible centrally planned system), capability assessments provided the best indicator of that country's potential to act militarily. In reality, the caution used by the Soviet leadership in exercising power made both its intentions and its military capabilities relatively predictable (computer models could easily provide accurate projections of future military capabilities).
In the next century, the number of actors involve in international activities will increase. When considered against an environment which will permit technology and advanced armaments to be transferred to other actors very rapidly, means that both indicated intentions and assessed military capabilities may be unreliable indicators upon which to base future threat assessments. Consequently, U.S. military planners can no longer rely on past planning factors to determine the type and rates at which a threat will likely develop in the future. This emerging situation has some serious implications for future military force structure planning.
With regard to this study effort, its breadth and complexity open the possibility for the elaboration of a large number of findings. However, since the subject of this effort is the missile defense challenge in the next 7-15 years, with a particular focus on 2010, the findings and recommendations will be limited to those areas which are directly related to missile issues.
Finding 1: Export control regimes are expected to become increasingly ineffective as nonproliferation tools. The evolving international political and technological environment will continue to erode the utility of this approach to security.
As described in Chapters 1-4, the control that states can exercise over the flow of people, information, technology, and manufactured products is declining as the information age develops. Common graduate school study opportunities, the lowering barriers to overseas travel and employment, the explosion of Internet use, the globalization of the manufacturing base, the weakening of political control in Russia and China, the flow of missiles and WMD systems and technology from North Korea, the explosion of international organized crime, the pressures on arms producing industries to export or perish, and the loss of international political consensus since the end of the Cold War all point to a continued erosion of the effectiveness of traditional export control systems.
As was discussed in detail in Chapters 2 and 3, the international export of sensitive technologies from Russia and China are particularly troublesome issues. At heart, the governments of these two countries resent many of the existing international export control regimes; they often view their interests as being best served by building the capabilities of client states that the United States categorizes as international pariahs (e.g., North Korea, Iran, Libya, Syria, etc.). In addition, elite groups in both Russia and China have vested interests in exporting goods that the United States has been working to restrict, many of which are missile system-related. The collaboration between these elites and government officials (or their family members) undermines attempts by US officials to pressure the Russian and Chinese governments to restrict trade in sensitive technologies. Even when successful at the government-to-government level, criminal activity continues to ensure the flow of sensitive technologies.
To some extent these same problems are evident in states other than Russia and China. Many Western European counties, Latin American countries, selected East Asian states, South Africa, and Israel all contain industries that are heavily involved in clandestine international technology transfer schemes that are contributing to the growing missile and WMD capabilities of many third world countries. Some of this trade is also aimed at trying to protect their international market share of defense sales, particularly as declining sales volume in traditional defense goods has tightened markets. Indeed, as pointed out in Chapter 1, some of this international flow of sensitive technology is also originating in the United States, both in terms of questionable sales from U.S.-based international corporations and by the transfer of materials salvaged from sophisticated U.S. weapon systems.
In short, while technology control regimes have slowed proliferation, they have not stopped it. It appears that technology control schemes are likely to become increasingly ineffective as the information age develops in the 21st century.
Finding 2: Missiles, both ballistic and cruise, will likely proliferate at an accelerating rate, along with warhead technology. Within the overall proliferation trend, it is becoming more difficult to predict the rate at which a specified country will emerge as a holder of ballistic missile and WMD capabilities since the foreign assistance aspect is an incalculable variable.
The fundamental reason that missiles and their warheads will proliferate is because there is a high demand for such technology, and many of the potential suppliers of such technologies and capabilities are under strong economic pressures. They desperately need export opportunities. Their willingness to trade sensitive technologies upsets the status quo of existing market dynamics and encourages other states and industries to follow suit in order to preclude loss of market share. Chapters 1-4 detailed some representative examples of these types of transfers.
Furthermore, cruise missiles are proliferating widely since they are easy to build, using basic aircraft technologies and guidance systems. Although not mentioned in the study, basic airplane technology is globalizing. The same technology that can be used to navigate airliners from point to point (inertial navigation and GPS) can also be used in cruise missile guidance systems. With a current global inventory of over 75,000 cruise missiles, many more are being built. By 2010, many countries may have cruise missiles with ranges in the 2000-4000 km class.
It is interesting to note that to a large extent the demand for missiles and missile technology was fueled by Desert Storm. This has been discussed at some length, especially in the sections dealing with China and Iran. CNN's coverage of the difficulties that Scud missiles posed for Western forces and the utility of the Tomahawk cruise missile to attack defended targets, coupled with the relative ease with which Iraq's traditionally equipped military machine was destroyed, persuaded many of the world's states that the acquisition of missile systems armed with advanced precision-guided munitions or WMD warheads was essential to their security. These states also recognized that these missile capabilities required command, control, communications, and intelligence/targeting assets to make them operate as an effective system. As a result of this shift in emphasis, the global demand for missile system-related technology and weapons has grown, while the sale of traditional military equipment has declined.
Another lesson taught by Desert Storm appears to have been the effectiveness of the United States' AirLand Battle Doctrine. Under the precepts of the doctrine, the military focus is on the selected destruction of high-value targets at the critical juncture of the operation. Thus, attacking a port may be important, but attacking the port just as the ships are arriving to use the facility is the timing portion of AirLand Battle. Premature attacks allow the adversary to repair the damage or make alternate arrangements in time to maintain its combat operational tempo.
Furthermore, there are indications that some countries (for example, China), are borrowing some AirLand Battle techniques for use in conjunction with a more robust deterrent strategy that appears to contain a nuclear and missile warfighting element. Consequently, at the tactical level, China can be expected to make extensive use of cruise and ballistic missile systems to attack critical high-value targets, using WMD warheads if necessary. China's strategic nuclear forces would then be used to deter outside interference. Likewise, as discussed in Chapter 4, Iran seems to be working to develop the military capability to do the same.
What is surprising is the apparent willingness of so many states to provide assistance to these efforts. As detailed earlier in this report, many countries have large delegations of foreign missile and WMD experts actively assisting them in the development of indigenous production capabilities. Although the most active and obvious assistance is coming from Russia, China, and North Korea, most other countries of the globe that have capabilities in these areas also have citizens contributing to the process. Consequently, the trend lines that could be used in the past to project when a country would be able to develop a certain level of capability are no longer valid. This problem can be clearly seen if one examines the unclassified excerpts from the 1996 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE). The language reflected a distinct uneasiness with the foreign assistance aspect of the issue. Essentially, the foreign assistance aspect is an incalculable variable when trying to estimate lead time for missile and WMD developments.
Within the situation outlined above, it is clear that missiles will emerge as one of the core weapons-delivery platforms that will dominate military operations in the twenty-first century.
Finding 3: The probability is increasing that ICBM missiles (either assembled as systems or as part of "knock-down kits" for assembly) could be transferred to other states prior to 2010.
There are two primary factors that are increasing the probability that ICBM systems could be transferred to other states prior to 2010. One factor is the deteriorating control that Russia has over its industries and elements of its armed forces. The other factor is Russia's and China's geographical location in Eurasia and their perceptions of what kind of systems constitute strategic threats, coupled with a developing sense that their respective national interests might best be served with the development of a multipolar international security structure.
With respect to control in Russia and, to a certain extent, Ukraine, sensitive technologies are flowing out of these countries at a growing rate. As discussed in Chapter 2, central control over Russia's mobile ICBM systems, such as the SS-25, is increasingly uncertain as living conditions and discipline in those units decline. There is also no guarantee that this system, or some other ICBM model, could not be exported directly from factory representatives as knock-down kits for assembly. As was discussed in the report, it is relatively easy to bribe materials out of Russia.
As was also pointed out, one SS-25 may have already been sold to China, and there are unconfirmed reports that 45 of the SS-25's replacement, the Topol M, may have been offered for sale to India by Russian military officials. This concern is further reinforced by recent reports that Russian SS-4 ballistic missile technology and components may have been transferred to Iran. If these three reports should prove true, it would indicate that the international taboo against transfer of long-range ballistic missiles may already be weakening.
It should be kept in mind that the view of the ICBM as a strategic system is a perspective held most strongly by the United States. That thinking is heavily influenced by the existence of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and friendly neighbors. To Russia and China, shorter-range missile systems on their borders are strategic systems. As medium-range missiles proliferate on the peripheries of these two countries, it could well be that the decision makers involved will no longer see a reason for withholding ICBM technology from the states along the Eurasian rimland. From their perspective, since they will already be threatened, there will be no reason to protect the United States at the expense of losing potential missile sales that could benefit their own economic well-being; although, consideration of the political and the economic repercussions that would arise might exert a restraining influence.
Based on December 1996 public statements by leaders of Russia and China (previously cited), these two countries are becoming convinced that their respective national interests would be best served in the context of a multipolar security structure. Assisting more countries in developing the capability to target the United States with strategic systems could be seen by these two countries as a positive development. Consequently, the United States should not automatically assume that the future transfer of ICBMs to hostile countries is an implausible scenario.
One of the more serious scenarios that should be considered might involve the transfer of ICBMs to North Korea. If North Korea made a decision to reunify the Korean peninsula by military conquest, it could make a major effort to acquire some ICBMs as a deterrent against U.S. intervention in defense of South Korea. Although the missiles could be mobile SS-25s moved across the border from Russia, they could just as well be missile component assemblies acquired from Russian factories for final assembly in North Korean facilities (for example, components from the new Topol M assembly line). Since North Korea has hundreds of underground fortified sites, it could easily hide this missile force undetected until needed to try to force the United States to leave South Korea to its fate.
Such a development would pose a major quandary for U.S. decision makers. If they decide the U.S. will fight, several U.S. cities might well be destroyed. If they decided the risks were too great, and the U.S. sat on the sidelines of the subsequent fight, U.S. credibility as a reliable strategic partner would be destroyed, current allies would move to make alternative security arrangements, and many existing trading patterns would change (to the detriment of the United States) as countries sought to develop and strengthen new security relationships. The United States' global position of leadership would be weakened.
Finding 4: Currently, four states can target the United States with either ICBMs or SLBMs: Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom. Prior to 2010, India and North Korea will almost certainly join this group. Ukraine, Japan, Israel, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, and South Korea (or a unified Korea) could join this group if they decided to do so. More problematic are the Arab states of the Middle East. Iran and Iraq will likely be able to target London and Moscow. The unknown variable is the foreign assistance factor.
Most of the states listed are not currently expected to be hostile to the United States in 2010. However, as missile technology spreads to new states, its practical implications are that in addition to representing a greater potential for an accidental or a deliberate launch against U.S. forces or U.S. territory, the number of potential suppliers of missile technology will also have grown. As noted throughout the study, a key variable in missile proliferation is the foreign assistance factor. How much assistance, how effective is the assistance, and how well can the assisted country absorb the technology provided? As the technology spreads, it should be expected that it will likely breed another round of increases in missile proliferation.
Finding 5: By 2010, penetration aids, maneuvering warheads, low radar cross sections, and similar technologies will become increasingly common in ballistic missiles. Most newer versions of cruise missiles will also incorporate some level of stealth technology.
The United States' tactical missile defense program has been influenced by the difficulties encountered in dealing with the Scud threat during Desert Storm. Naturally, as Scud-based missiles are the most highly proliferated tactical ballistic missile system currently in the world, missile defense designers have tended to measure the effectiveness of their technologies against the Scud system. However, the Scud is a crude missile with limited upgrade potential. Since the entire missile (warhead and attached missile body) flies the entire length of the trajectory, the system is buffeted by the forces of re-entry resulting in a large loss of accuracy and sometimes the breakup of the modified versions of the system, which have been elongated to add more fuel for extended range. Due to their large radar and infrared signatures, Scuds cannot be hidden by penetration aids or techniques designed to mask IR and radar signatures. The most serious problem that missile defense designers have to deal with is the unexpected maneuvers and associated debris that occurs when the Scud breaks up in the 12-18 km altitude range. Of course, defense systems that make their intercepts above the 21 km altitude air-density "wall" that induces Scud breakup avoid this problem.
Unfortunately, most countries have already assumed the United States will deploy missile defense systems and a number of them are developing missile capabilities that incorporate counter-missile defense technologies and strategies designed to evade the assessed capabilities of future defense systems. This trend is evidenced in the development of the Chinese M-family of missiles, the Russian SS-X-26 and 27, and the Indian Prithvi and Agni missiles.
The DF-15/M-9 missile firings into the Taiwan Strait in July 1995 and March 1996 demonstrated that China's M-family missiles add a whole new dimension to the tactical missile intercept problem. As one general officer later recounted, it was obvious that the Chinese had "gone to college in California. We saw a lot of our worst fears come true as we looked at the M-9 missile." As pointed out in Chapter 3, the M-9 has a detachable warhead that China tries to mask by the shadow of the trailing missile body to hinder the detection of the warhead by radar or IR sensors. There are hints that these masking technologies may include active measures as well. Since the M-9 and M-11 (which shares some of the M-9's technology) were developed as commercial ventures aimed at the export market, China has been anxious to export these systems. The M-11 has been exported to Pakistan; the M-9 may have been exported to Syria and perhaps Iran, and either the M-11's or the M-9's technology is probably being incorporated into Pakistan's Hatf 3 missile system, currently under development. Regardless of the current (much disputed) export status of the M-family of missiles, by 2010 it would be prudent to anticipate that the technology incorporated in these systems will have proliferated to a significant number of states.
As for tactical ballistic missiles incorporating advanced maneuver systems, India's Prithvi and Russia's SS-X-26 are prime examples of emerging maneuver technology. There is a strong likelihood that the capabilities represented by these two systems will proliferate prior to 2010.
In the case of the Prithvi, the short-range version of the system is probably below the guidelines established by the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which may permit India to sell this system without being subject to U.S. sanctions. India has already listed the Prithvi's support equipment as being available for export. Although the United States has been working to prevent the Prithvi's export, it seems only a matter of time until either the missile or its technology migrates to other states.
Likewise, the technology incorporated into Russia's SS-X-26 could also proliferate. Unfortunately, in addition to its maneuver capabilities, this extremely accurate system contains a number of additional features, such as low radar cross section (stealth), penaids, and similar sophisticated technologies that will make it a difficult missile to detect and intercept. Although this missile currently cannot be exported legally under MTCR guidelines, as was discussed in Chapter 2, it is possible that an export version could be produced that is MTCR compliant. In addition, as discussed previously, there are also few technologies that cannot be purchased "under the table" in Russia. Consequently, it seems quite likely that the SS-X-26 will proliferate in some form by 2010.
In addition to maneuver and masking, countries are increasingly packaging their missile warheads to deliver submunitions or bomblets. These multiple-target warheads provide a separate set of challenges for missile defenses. When considered in light of the trend toward packaging CW and BW agents in bomblets, it is clear that this type of warhead will not only improve the distribution of agents in the target area, it also will serve to defeat missile defense systems that are based on unitary warhead intercept concepts.
At the strategic level, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Russia all have penetration aids incorporated into their warheads. China is believed to be in the process of doing likewise as it designs its new generation of warheads. India, in its Agni technology demonstrator, has incorporated endoatmospheric maneuvering and terminal guidance systems. Some reduction of its radar signature should also be anticipated. If India should field an ICBM (the Surya), it is likely that the warhead technology being tested in the Agni would be used in the Surya.
Reportedly, the next generation of Russian strategic systems will be much more sophisticated at evading missile defenses. The new Topol M, which in its mobile version will replace the current SS-25, will be a system of particular concern. Russian Strategic Missile Force officers have bragged that this missile will have the capability to penetrate any defense system. As a mobile system, it will be the missile most likely to be involved in an unauthorized launch. In addition, it is the system that could most easily be driven across a border by disaffected troops and sold. Lastly, as a missile in active production, it is a system that could most easily be sold as components for assembly, either as part of an official decision or as an illegal transfer involving factory managers or organized crime groups.
In short, counter-missile defense efforts are well advanced. These technologies are sure to proliferate along with missile and WMD technologies. U.S. missile defense programs must be structured to deal with this problem.
Finding 6: Tactical missile defenses must be able to defeat an array of warhead types: unitary, submunition, and bomblet. National missile defenses should be able to defend against MIRVed nuclear warheads. There is a limited possibility that BW agents might be packaged in submunitions for ICBM delivery.
The warhead types available for missile delivery are increasing, especially for the tactical missile systems. Nuclear, biological, and chemical technologies are proliferating, along with an array of advanced conventional capabilities. All three WMD weapon types are likely to be developed and deployed for tactical missile delivery, along with a wide array of conventional warheads: fuel-air explosive, scatterable mines, electromagnetic pulse generators, fragmentation submunitions, etc.
On the other hand, ICBMs, with their multimillion dollar price tags, must be equipped with warheads that justify the cost of delivery. Most states capable of developing an ICBM will also likely be able to develop nuclear weapons. As shown in Chapter 5, the only cost-effective warheads for an ICBM are nuclear warheads and possibly biological agents packaged in submunitions. A conventional or chemical option would not be sufficiently lethal to deter a contemplated U.S. action necessary to defend key national interests. Since the effectiveness of a BW strike is weather dependent and considering that biological agents have an incubation period, nuclear warheads remain the most likely weapon that national ballistic missile defense systems will have to defeat in the first decade of the next century.
The most likely exception to this possibility would be if a non-nuclear state acquired an ICBM from a third party or if an emerging nuclear power, such as North Korea, were able to acquire more ICBMs than it had nuclear warheads to mount. In those types of situations, the acquiring state(s) might load warheads with BW submunitions if a nuclear option were unavailable.
Finding 7: The initial missile defense systems deployed by the United States will have some difficulties defending against the more advanced classes of missiles discussed in the foregoing findings.
The initial missile defense system will be built around two sensor systems: single-color infrared, which only measures an angle to the heat source (a 2-D picture), and microwave radars, which will paint the 3-D picture. The seeker on the warheads will use infrared sensors that will be directed to lock onto a specified IR source identified by the ground-based radar system. However, as discussed at length in the first portion in Chapter 5, microwave radar and infrared sensors have some difficulty distinguishing among closely grouped objects. Thus, the initial interceptors fielded by the United States will have some limitations in distinguishing a target that is embedded in a field of penaids or debris. Either the ground-based radar (GBR) or the on-board IR sensor could be deceived by advanced decoys, stealth, or some similar penaid.
These limitations mean that the United States' planned first generation intercept systems might require a high number of shots to ensure that a single re-entry vehicle is destroyed (particularly if accompanied by advanced penetration aids or if the target is located at the edge of the GBR's range capabilities). This relative inefficiency vis-`a-vis offensive missiles needs to be overcome if missile defenses are to be cost effective. The other major unsolved limitation, particularly against endoatmospheric targets, is the difficulty of trying to intercept a maneuvering target. Since the IR sensor only provides directional data (no range to target), a target maneuver just prior to interception will tend to make the defensive missile miss the target. The solution is believed to be the addition of an on-board ranging capability and processor that could combine the signals to calculate the intercept. Until such time as this capability is added, maneuvering targets will likely remain a difficult challenge to missile defenses.
In addition, all first generation U.S. missile defense programs will produce systems capable of intercepting only a single object. Multiple submunitions, bomblets, or multiple re-entry vehicles (MRVs) will require a separate missile for each individual target. Although the ABM Treaty prohibits multiple warheads on national defense interceptor systems, tactical systems could be equipped with optional warheads, some of which could be designed for interception of multiple targets.
Finding 8: The developmental process and related funding allocations are not well balanced for long-term technological growth and system sustainment.
Unfortunately, missile defense systems do not determine the nature of the missile intercept problem. The initiative, thus the control, is in the hands of the offensive missile designers who determine when and what penetration tactics and technologies will be incorporated into the systems that they design. For the United States' defense establishment and its still rather ponderous research, development, and acquisition (RDA) system, responding rapidly to changing offensive missile capabilities could be a significant challenge.
The United States, as the world's most technologically advanced nation, usually has been able to set the pace of technology development for the rest of the world to follow. Typically, a defense project is systematically designed and executed, then as the rest of the world begins to catch up, the system is upgraded to the next generation. Missile defenses, however, will always be in the position of having to respond to offensive missile system innovations. A ponderous, plodding approach will ensure that U.S. missile defenses are always one generation too late to be effective.
In interviews conducted throughout much of the missile defense community, the question was asked about the status of planning and programming for upgrades to the systems now under development. All claimed that the upgrades that will be needed have not received much attention. Several suggested that the U.S. missile defense systems would require the insertion of new technologies every two-three years along with software upgrades once or twice a year. Areas that were noted as currently needing more research effort if future missile defense systems are to remain viable included multispectral processing, advanced radar technology, ultra-high data processing and communications, more capable kill vehicles, and directed energy weapon systems (laser and microwave).
It should also be understood that a number of underlying technical breakthroughs are needed in such areas, for example, as more efficient power sources, power generation technologies, and electrical storage systems if futuristic missile defense technologies are to become feasible. Thus, research in a number of advanced technology sectors will need to be pursued if the United States is to be prepared to upgrade its future missile defense capabilities.
Finding 9: The technology community and the program management organizations are not well integrated; their respective operations are too independent from each other so that the flow of technology from conception through procurement is not a smooth process.
The technology development community and the acquisition program management process function as two nearly independent operations. Although the technology community develops many of the concepts needed by next generation systems, their products are not always developed to the point where they are useful to the procurement process. Conversely, program managers sometimes ignore or fail to examine the technical development work that has already been developed prior to contracting for system development. This means that (as pointed out at the end of Chapter 5), too frequently, there is too much wasted motion between these two communities. Although the implementation of the government's Integrated Product Teams (IPT) is proving to be a step in the right direction, more effort is needed to ensure unity of purpose in the RDA process.
Recommendation 1: Develop and deploy a robust system of tactical defenses against ballistic and cruise missile systems; field a first-generation national missile defense in the near-term, one capable of incorporating frequent upgrades without major system rework. Begin now to develop the upgrades needed to increase the capability of these initial systems.
The spread of missile and WMD capabilities and the uncertainties that surround predictions regarding the rate that these systems are likely to proliferate requires that the United States develop missile defenses to protect itself from limited strikes or unauthorized launches, thus helping to maintain U.S. options of being able to act militarily in defense of its national interests or to prevent unchecked international aggression.
Missiles of all types are emerging as core weapons delivery platforms for a wide array of weapon payloads. At the tactical level, these delivery platforms hold the potential for inflicting large numbers of casualties on deployed forces that may be called upon to conduct intervention operations in defense of U.S. national interests or to check international aggression.
As the 21st century unfolds, missile proliferation of long-range systems will likely increase the potential for unexpected confrontations that could result in situations reminiscent of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. More importantly, as discussed in the findings, the possibility that limited ICBM capabilities could be exported to other states raises the prospect that the United States could be issued an ultimatum to "stay home or else" as aggressive states attempt to remedy domestic or regional problems via military means. When these issues are coupled with the increased potential for an unauthorized launch, it is clear that the United States needs to establish a capability to defend itself against the unexpected. Because the acquisition of missile-based capabilities is a growth industry, the efforts that America puts into developing its initial capabilities can later be expanded if it should prove necessary. Since exoatmospheric missile intercept technology relatively is at about the same point of development as airplane technology was in 1918, the United States needs to structure its missile defense program so that the resulting capabilities can and will be continually upgraded as more advanced technology becomes ready for insertion. The country cannot wait 50 years for a gradual evolution of missile defense technologies.
Recommendation 2: Balance the missile defense programs for indefinite sustainment. The program focus should be on the delivery of capabilities that can grow and develop over the decades ahead. Let the funding levels appropriated determine system deployment dates.
As previously described, it will do the United States little good to deploy missile defenses that cannot be sustained over time. Missile defense research should probably be pegged at about 12 percent of the missile defense budget to sustain the rate of progress that will be necessary to meet the emerging requirements.
Areas needing more research effort include multispectral processing, advanced radar technology, ultra-high data processing and communications, more capable kill vehicles, directed energy weapon systems (laser and microwave), and the enabling technologies needed to make futuristic missile defense concepts viable.
Recommendation 3: The technology community and the program management organizations should be better integrated to facilitate an improved flow of technology from conception through procurement.
The technology development community and the program management operations must be better integrated and focused so that technology is developed, demonstrated, engineered, and embedded into missile defense projects in an efficient and cost effective manner. As discussed at the end of Chapter 5, currently there is too much wasted motion between these two communities. If the missile defense systems are to be upgraded frequently and at reasonable costs, the inefficiencies resulting from the separation of these two operations must be addressed.
Program managers should be required to conduct a search for already developed technology prior to contracting for new developments. Suitable technology that has previously been developed at government expense should have priority for consideration for insertion into acquisition projects. At the same time, technology labs that state that a technology is ready for insertion must be held accountable for the performance of that technology. In short, the technology and program acquisition communities should be better coordinated to ensure unity of effort.
Recommendation 4: Require all future missile defense systems to be designed for easy upgrade and technology insertion. To the extent possible, avoid proprietary architectures that would be expensive to replace as new technologies are developed.
With the level of technology needed to defeat ballistic missile systems still in its infancy, the United States should avoid the procurement of systems that would require very expensive rework costs to insert next generation sensor or guidance packages. It is also not in the government's interest to limit future upgrade possibilities due to excessive use of proprietary architectures that might not be compatible with future technological innovations that could have otherwise been inserted into the system at some future date.