Senators: Join missile defence!

A new report issued by the Senate National Security and Defence Committee calls on the Canadian government to join the U.S. missile defence system (David Pugliese & Robert Sibley, “Canada urged to join controversial U.S. missile shield,” Ottawa Citizen, 16 June 2014):

Canada should join the United States as a full and willing partner in developing a ballistic missile defence system, according to a report from the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence.

“The committee is unanimous in recommending that the government of Canada enter into an agreement with the United States to participate as a partner in ballistic missile defence,” the committee said in releasing the report Monday.

“The committee heard worrying testimony about the ongoing efforts of North Korea and Iran to acquire capabilities to deliver long-range, nuclear-armed ballistic missiles so as to threaten neighbouring countries, NATO and North America,” the committee, headed by Conservative Senator Daniel Lang, said in a summary of the report. Both nations have developed their missile technology “to the point where a threat has become a practical reality.”

According to a 2003 Canadian Department of National Defence report, the U.S. has spent more than $200 billion over a 50-year-period trying to come up with various forms of missile defence. The report, obtained by the Citizen under the Access to Information law, also pointed out that missile defence discussions over the years have had a Canadian component.

U.S. plans from the early 1960s called for the stationing of nuclear-armed missile interceptors at the North American Aerospace Defence Command’s regional headquarters in North Bay. Missile batteries would also be deployed to defend Ottawa and Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Detroit and Windsor, and Seattle and Vancouver. Those plans were eventually scrapped.

In more recent years, the U.S. has spent some $30 billion on what it calls a ground-based midcourse defence system, but those interceptors have failed almost half the time — eight out of 17 tests — to destroy incoming mock warheads. The tests have been ongoing since 1999; the last successful intercept was in 2008 with three failures following in the years after.

The Los Angeles Times has an excellent report on the current state of the missile-defence boondoggle here: David Willman, “$40-billion missile defense system proves unreliable,” Los Angeles Times, 15 June 2014.

If you think the F-35 is an unnecessary, overpriced, paper weapon system being bought before it has even been fully designed, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

More coverage of the Senate report: Steven Chase, “Senate panel urges Ottawa to join U.S. missile shield,” Globe and Mail, 16 June 2014.

Tags: Ballistic Missile Defence, Boondoggles, Ground-based Midcourse Defense, Missile defence, NORAD, Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence