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Scientists Urge Obama to Drop European Missile Defense

On July 2, 2009, a group of prominent scientists released a joint letter urging President Obama to issue a directive that the United States will not deploy any part of the proposed U.S. missile defense system in Europe before it is proven effective under real-world operating conditions.

Proceeding with deployment would result in large security, political and financial costs, according to the scientists, many of whom have served as government advisers on a range of military and security issues. Ten of the letter's 20 signatories have won a Nobel Prize, 15 are members of the National Academy of Sciences, and seven are members of the National Academy of Engineering.

Organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the scientists' letter was released a few days before a summit between President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that runs from July 6 to July 8 in Moscow. Russia has expressed strong opposition to a U.S. missile defense system in Eastern Europe and has linked the proposal to other issues that would require its cooperation. The Obama administration is expected to announce its decision about deploying the system in the next few weeks.  

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