The May 18 edition of The New York Times contained an article (“Review Cites Flaws in U.S. Antimissile Program”) detailing a study conducted by Dr. Theodore Postol and Dr. George Lewis published in the May issue of Arms Control Today (ACT). The study called into question the test record of the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) sea-based interceptor that is designed to intercept and destroy short- to medium-range ballistic missiles. The ACT article stated that successful intercepts during tests of the SM-3 actually “missed” targets and should not have been assessed as successful.
The Missile Defense Agency strongly refutes this allegation. The SM-3 program is one of the most successful programs within the Department of Defense, with operational interceptors now deployed aboard U.S. Navy ships. These ships range throughout the world’s oceans, providing an effective, reliable defense against short- to medium-range ballistic missiles. An extensive, operationally realistic test program is continuing to further improve and enhance the capabilities of the SM-3 element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System.