The United States is expanding its preliminary missile defense system to address potential threats from the Middle East and China, and from ship-borne missiles off America's coast, the chief of the Pentagon's program said Thursday.
The Pentagon is upgrading radars in Britain and surveying four European countries for a new site for U.S. "interceptor" missiles, to better monitor and defeat incoming strikes from the Middle East, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry A. Obering III, director of the Missile Defense Agency.
Still, Obering said the costly system suffers from a wide range of technical problems -- from workmanship to software -- and the rush to put it on alert before it is fully tested means the chances are limited that it would succeed in thwarting any missile attack today.
"We have a better than zero chance of successfully intercepting, I believe, an inbound warhead," Obering said. "That confidence will improve over time."
I hereby submit my own proposal for a missile defense system. For $40.2 billion, or less than half to cost of the existing system to date, I propose to create a mile-wide sign that says "Osama is a bed wetter" and place it in the wilds of Saskatchewan. The cost reflects the difficulty of erecting the sign without any Canadians noticing, and the mandatory premium inherent in defending our nation.
While I cannot guarantee that the sign will distract any missiles inbound for the US of A, I am confident that its chances of working are "better than zero."
Mr. Rumsfeld, I await your response, and will forward wire instructions at your earliest convenience.