Hitt reports that "missile defense is the single most-expensive weapons system in the American arsenal. The Bush administration nearly tripled Clinton's average missile defense budget, to $11-billion a year -- a sum almost four times larger than the U.S. government's total spending on energy research." By 2013 research and development is expected to grow to $19-billion a year.
The article is largely set around the Missile Defense Agency's (MDA) new X-band radar, or SBX, that was built to sit on a former oil rig platform. Constructed in Texas, the sea-going radar was too big to get through the Panama Canal and had to be shipped to Hawaii the long way - around the tip of South America. Its ultimate destination is Alaska where it will then be tied in with other U.S. Star Wars radars dotted around the planet in Greenland, California, Massachusetts, and England giving the military full spectrum visibility of the entire planet.
Hitt reviews the MDA's plan for a "layered missile defense shield" that would theoretically intercept offending "evil weapons of mass destruction" in their boost phase, midcourse, and terminal stages of flight. Various space weapons systems are now under development by the MDA for each of these three phases of flight and include the Airborne laser (a converted Boeing 747 with a laser on it's nose), Kinetic Energy Interceptor, Navy Aegis destroyers outfitted with interceptor missiles, PAC-3 (latest upgrade of the Patriot interceptor), Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (interceptors mounted on Army trucks), and more.
Hitt astutely notes that "As with its complex technology and multiple military rivalries, the missile defense system is also 'layered' in another way -- as a series of receding and lucrative private contracts."
Hitt spends much time in his article discussing the testing program for missile defense. He shares the Pentagon's new testing philosophy called "spiral development" which "means that you build a weapons system not with a fixed design and completion date in mind, but with a more flexible idea of what you are shooting for, one that is subject to endless change and revision."
Thus the program never ends, the money flows forever as new upgrades to the system keep the aerospace corporation profits high and dry. Hitt says, "In the procurement business, it's called 'kicking the can down the road' -- slowly working your way to a goal without ever really getting there. Instead of building a missile defense shield, what gets constructed is a full-employment policy for defense [military] contractors."
There are some things that Hitt does not talk about. He never considers that "missile defense" is not really supposed to work because the program is not about defense - it is an offensive, Star Wars program to give the U.S. "control and domination" of space and the Earth below.
Ample evidence has existed for years that the real intent of the MDA's work is to create this kind of offensive system that would give the Pentagon the ability to "deny" other powers military access to space. The U.S. well understands that those who have military "space assets" in place will win the wars on the planet below. When the Pentagon launched the 2003 "shock and awe" attack of Iraq in 2003, 70% of the weapons used in the initial attack were guided to their targets by military satellites now in space and working quite effectively. Space weapons technology is now functioning and according to Pentagon documents no one else should be allowed to have that same capability. If they did have it they might be able to challenge the U.S.'s notion of "full spectrum dominance."
Thus spending on "missile defense" allows research, development, testing, and deployment of a host of "offensive" space programs.
In the recent Air Force Space Command's Strategic Master Plan: FY06 and Beyond, the space warriors say, "This capability (space) is the ultimate high ground of U.S. military operations. Today, control of this high ground means superiority in information and significant force enhancement. Tomorrow, ownership may mean instant engagement anywhere in the world."
Hitt also generally gives a pass to the Democratic Party in his article. He does briefly mention that Bill Clinton changed Ronald Reagan's "Strategic Defense Initiative - SDI" to the "Ballistic Missile Defense Organization - BMDO" but he ignores the strong bipartisan nature of the whole Star Wars program. The Democrats have been full partners in keeping the program alive and fully funded since the 1980's.
In the end Hitt's article fails to outline the real U.S. military doctrine that exists today - preemptive first strike attack. His article determines that "missile defense" is about endless corporate welfare. He is right about that. But he leaves out the true military role for space technology, which is to enhance and ensure U.S. military control of the entire Earth and all of its diminishing resources on behalf of corporate globalization.
Preemptive attack, directed by space technology, is the future of U.S. military doctrine. The sooner we all understand that, and openly debate the policy, the sooner we put an end to the expansion of U.S. empire.