Re: eeyore and tigger

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Sun Jun 11 2000 - 16:10:49 MDT

John Clark wrote:

> A few years ago they claimed to have solved the
> problem and had a successful test, but much later it turned out that they'd
> installed a electric heater on the mock warhead so it gave off a much
> stronger infrared signal.

Right. That test, the Homing Overlay Experiment, was a test
of the kill vehicle, not the seeker. The seeker technology was
not advanced enough at that time, so they, the customer and
the contractors, decided not to risk the kill vehicle test by
combining it with a seeker test. Later a reporter without
a clearance felt he had uncovered some kind of scandal or
cover-up upon learning of the "hidden electric heater".

> The latest round of testing is no more honest a inside
> informant told the New York Times on Friday.

Inside informant. How would the Times know if they had
a *real* inside informant? If the inside informant had a clearance,
they would risk going to prison for leaking info. Why would
that inside informant do that? What if the informant had a
clearance, but not in that particular area? This is an inherent
problem with reporter digging up a scoop within the cutting
edge of defense: those who know do not tell. Therefore those
who tell ________. Fill in the blank.

> With realistic decoys the
> system had absolutely no luck finding the warhead so they just dumbed down the
> testing.

So goes the story. In fact I would not expect they would combine
a test of decoy discrimination with a kill vehicle test. Reason: decoy
discrimination can be tested on the deck, in an anechoic chamber.
If they felt it necessary to do such a test in space, the results would be
highly secret, for obvious reasons, and there might even be intentional
misinformation leaked to the press. The customer would never want
such a test to be combined with a test that cannot be kept secret,
such as a hit-to-kill intercept, which cannot be kept secret. A space-
based decoy test can be launched from a sounding rocket out in
Nevada somewhere, where no one is watching. Keep in mind that
the results of these tests have convinced those who pay the bills that
this technology is worth pursuing.

> I think it's a screwy idea. It would never work against a massive attack because
> defense will always be more expensive than offence,

Roger that. I agree. However, the comparison is irrelevant. For
instance, the cost of the lock on your car is much higher than the
cost of the tool used to defeat it, yet still we lock our cars. The
cost of the lock on our houses is very high with respect to the
cost of the brick thrown thru a window. The costs that should
be compared is the cost of the defense compared to the cost of...

Or Los Angeles, or New York. Name a city, and please
help me estimate its value. How would you do it? Assume the
value of all the real estate, then add the number of people times
their average annual salary times the average remaining years
of their career? Then add a few bucks apiece for the children?
John, what is the *value* of the city you live in?

> well if I were an insane dictator of some little jerkwater country I wouldn't
> use ICBM's to deliver my bombs, they're harder to make than nukes and much more
> expensive; I'd use FedEx or UPS to deliver my H Bomb,

Roger that. But before this becomes much greater of a risk, we
need the technology to determine if any given package contains
fissionable material, which is actually now doable, with thermal
neutron detectors and other technology.

> a rocket can be tracked
> so everyone would know who was responsible for having Manhattan vaporized,
> America might be irritated at me.

That they would. In fact, if some Dr. Evil fired a missile at
the U.S. he would likely never get the satisfaction of knowing
whether or not it made it thru the defenses, since an advanced
adversary has countermeasures aboard submarines, which are
likely closer to him than he is to the U.S.

> Better if things just go boom and nobody knows why.
> I could even send a letter of condolence afterwards.

Well, yes, do that. Now of course, you have raised an issue that
leads directly back to our favorite old topic: universal surveillance.
I want someone to explain to me how we can possibly go another
100 years without some form of national missile defense and
eventually some form of unisurv, one that cares not if it sees you
scratching your fanny but rather is focussed on those who try to
make nukes, bioagents or nanoweapons. spike

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