Most military systems face mandatory oversight and accountability requirements, developed to keep projects on-time and at-cost.
Not missile defense. The current system—built by the Bush administration in a post-9/11 security environment—was exempted from almost all of the normal requirements used for decades.
As a result, nearly all of the GMD’s interceptors were fielded before a single missile of their type was successfully tested. A full two-thirds of test intercepts failed in the 15 years following Bush’s order.
Early analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists also showed how countermeasures could easily defeat missile defense, an issue never credibly addressed by administration officials.
As it exists today, the system would offer little to no protection in any realistic scenario. It’s also diplomatically counterproductive, and potentially dangerous; policy makers, misled to believe in missile defense’s effectiveness, may act in ways that increase the likelihood of conflict.
The Union of Concerned Scientists recommends that the United States fundamentally change its approach to strategic missile defense. If the GMD continues to play a role in US security strategy, it needs, at a minimum, clear goals, rigorous testing, and effective oversight and accountability.