Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by ShoeshineBoy, Oct 10, 2006.

  1. Isn't this huge? How would we monitor nuke programs in "rogue nations" for example?

    October 05, Reuters — China jamming test sparks U.S. satellite concerns. China has beamed a ground-based laser at U.S. spy satellites over its territory, a U.S. agency said, in an action that exposed the potential vulnerability of space systems that provide crucial data to American troops and consumers around the world. The Department of Defense remains Tight-lipped about details, including which satellite was involved or when it occurred. The Pentagon's National Reconnaissance Office Director Donald Kerr acknowledged the incident two weeks ago, first reported by Defense News, but said it did not materially damage the U.S. satellite's ability to collect information. The issue looms large, given that U.S. military operations have rapidly grown more reliant on satellite data for everything from targeting bombs to relaying communications to spying on enemy nations. Critical U.S. space assets include a constellation of 30 Global Positioning Satellites that help target bombs and find enemy locations. This system is also widely used in commercial applications, ranging from car navigation systems to automatic teller machines. The Pentagon also depends on communications satellites that relay sensitive messages to battlefield commanders, and satellites that track weather in critical areas so U.S. troops can plan their missions.
  2. Good example why the SDI was a bad idea - it'd never work because simple, cheap counter measures can easily disable the system.
  3. pattersb

    pattersb Guest

    The idea of SDI ended the cold-war. RIP Ronnie, you won't soon be forgotten!
  4. Can you explain a little more? And is that why SDI actually died? If I remember right, Bush was pro-SDI but it seemed to just die on the vine several years ago...
  5. satellites never were a good substitute for real on the ground information. dont forget the case for the wmd and the iraq war was made using satellite information. how wrong was that.
  6. Edward Teller, then Director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, was the main proponent of the SDI. He was a great scientists. But even the greatest sometimes have a few wacky ideas. The SDI brought a windfall of federal money to the Livermore Lab. However, this idea was strongly opposed by many scientists from the very beginning. Most notable opponent was Hans Bethe, Nobel Laureate and Teller's collaborator on the atomic bombs.

    The main objection to the SDI, was that the counter measures are cheap, easy, and hard to detect. I don't need to go into the details. Imagine that an initial SDI system has a 90% accuracy (this is not possible even with today's technology). That means if the enemy launches 10 missiles, we're likely to miss one. Remember in this kind of defense, missing a single missile means 100% failure. So we spend 10 times or 100 times more money and improve our accuracy to 99%. All the enemy needs to do to counter this is to launch 100 missiles. And these don't have to be real missiles either. They can mix in with balloons, multiple warheads with multiple decoys. The problem is, we cannot miss a single one of them - who knows whether the one that we miss is the real one!

    It is a lot easier and cheaper to develop decoy technologies than to develop technologies that can detect decoys. And the killer is, no technology can detect decoys with 100% certainty.

    Once this aspect of the problem was understood, the SDI died a natural death, despite politicians continued to pay lip service to it for a few more years.

    And you're giving communism too much credit if you think that it took the SDI to bring the Soviet Union down. Reagan may claim some credit (as well as Gorbachev). But I doubt that SDI had much role.
  7. Agreed. Alhtough I think they just used that as an excuse. I'm no dove, but what we essentially have done is created a pro-Iranian arabic state.
  8. Great post and, I hate to admit it, but I hadn't thought about the depth of the decoy problem. But one of these days, if he hasn't done it already, Kim is going to develop a rocket that can land in CA. Wouldn't you sleep a little better knowing that SDI has a 90% chance of taking it out?
  9. We would have a far better chance of knocking his launching sites out by conventional means - airplanes and cruise missiles.

    I would not rely on a 90% chance to stop a nuclear missile. That's almost as bad as 0%.
  10. But, speaking of decoys, what are the odds we really know where his sites are? About 90% if you ask me.

    Why not take both approaches?

    We're talking hundreds of thousands of lives here. Why not use offensive and defensive means?
    #10     Oct 16, 2006