Further Examination of the US Nuclear Arms Strategy
I enjoyed reading the article "Revamping of US Nuclear Arms Strategy Has Begun," Dec. 19; however, there are several points in the piece regarding Strategic Defense that I would like to clarify.
First, I take exception to the paragraph that states that "no nation hostile to the US can be expected to marry the difficult technology of a nuclear weapon with that of an intercontinental missile until well into the next century, if then." I'm sure that all Americans would agree that during the war in the Persian Gulf, Iraq was certainly hostile to our nation. As the United Nations inspection team discovered, Saddam Hussein's scientists were only about 12 to 18 months away from industry-scale productio n of weapons-grade enriched uranium, and were actively seeking the means to attach a nuclear warhead to an ICBM.
Secondly, the author incorrectly writes that "Congress this year voted to move toward deployment of a single-site anti-missile system ... total cost of building this system will be about $25 billion, according to Pentagon estimates." The fact of the matter is that the entire ground-based system consisting of six sites (including space-based sensors) would cost approximately $25 billion spread out over the rest of the decade.
Lastly, the cost of deploying a Global Protection Against Limited Strikes (GPALS) system (which would consist of a constellation of 1,000 space-based interceptors, 750 ground-based interceptors and 50 to 70 space sensors), is estimated at $46 billion, not $50 to $120 billion as reported in the article. Col. Jeffrey E. Furbank Washington, US Department of Defense
Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.