Jeffrey LewisNFIRE Stumbles in Senate

The Bush Administration and the Missile Defense Agency may run into trouble over their plans to place weapons in outer space. The Senate Armed Services Committee, in its defense authorization mark-up, directed the Missile Defense Agency “to provide the congressional defense committees a report no later than March 15, 2005, on the risks to space assets posed by debris that would result from an impact between the NFIRE sensor and a target missile.” The SASC also urged MDA to explore “cost-effective alternatives for collecting near-field data on missile plumes.”

The language also notes that the the test “will likely result in a collision” which is the strongest official admission of the NFIRE that I/’ve yet seen.

Assuming the language makes it into the final authorization bill, this sets the stage for a pre-launch showdown over NFIRE during the next budget cycle. Let/’s hope President Kerry and Senate Majority Leader Daschle put a wooden stake through the NFIRE after March 15, 2005.