Jeffrey LewisLike Rashomon, But for Wonks

Four little reporters listened to conference call with the Director of the Missile Defense Agency …

  • The first little reporter, Ann Roosevelt of Defense Daily, went “MDA Director ‘Disappointed’ In Recent Test Problems.” (subscription only, I am afraid)
  • The second little reporter, Bradley Graham of the The Washington Post, went that “Missile Defense Director Moves To End Test Glitches.”
  • The third little reporter, Thomas Duffy of Inside Defense, went “MDA Sets Up Outside Review Board to Examine Recent Test Failures.”
  • The fouth little reporter, Bill Gertz of the Washington Times, went wee wee wee “Pentagon Sees Missile-Defense Progress.”

“It’s almost like the Washington Times was at a different briefing,” notes CDI’s Victoria Samson. Or like someone was getting high on the job, I say.

Even better, Victoria observes, check out the Early Bird. The Washington Times story is story No. 6, under Top Stories, while the Washington Post is No. 22, under Missile Defense. Defense Daily and Inside Defense didn’t make the cut.

Speaking of Rashomon: Victoria mentioned the story to both Shachtman and me. For his take, where he actually bothers to blog about the content, see DefenseTech.Org.


  1. Canary

    Can I say it? Gertz is an idiot.

  2. Jeffrey Lewis

    Or, as Shachtman asks “Did the Moonie Times’ Bill Gertz actually sit down and think, “Hmmm, let me carry the Administration’s water today”? Or is blind acceptance so pre-programmed into the paper’s DNA that this kind of cheerleading becomes automatic?”

    Fool, knave or tool. You decide.

  3. Tom Adams (History)

    It seems that the Navy’s success in this program has been under everyone’s radar for the past several years. The SM3 program has a record of endo and exto atomospheric kills in the current and previous programs that have and are exploiting this technology. The SM 3 and the Aegis Weapon System ( built by Lockheed Martin) sucessfully demonstrated this capability as far back as the 1999-2000 time frame. If I recall, the program was known as LEAP.

    The biggest pproblem with the Missile Defense Agency is its organization. It belongs to the Army but an Air Force three star runs it while ignoring the successes of the Navy. Typical. I can’t say more due to senistivity of data.

  4. RC (History)

    Actually the SM3 is closer to the PAC3 in capability and the fact is that the SM3 hasn’t yet hit a target RV only a target missile. The highly scripted nature of the tests and the intercept trajectory are all optimal and designed for success.

    Back in the day when I worked on this stuff the SM3 leap program was to be capable of a higher speed intercept but from the unclass docs on the web I see they scaled it back to be less capable.

    THis stuff actually has been demostrated back in 1984 with the HOE missions. THose were also later proved suspect.

  5. bfartan (History)

    Maybe I’m being thick-headed, so someone explain it to me.

    What’s not correct about Gertz’s story from the Washington Times? It reports the sea-based program is doing OK; the ground-based program is having lots of problems and will get new management. Has anyone got credible evidence that this is not the sea-based program is doing as badly as the ground-based program?

    So, when only HALF of it is not up to par, we should logically dismiss the ENTIRE missile defense program because one part of it is not working, a situation which may be temporary?

  6. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    Actually, you are being a little thick-headed.

    The story, as virtually everyone else noticed, was that Obering overhauled MDA’s testing program by setting up an outside review board and appointing Admiral Paige to manage future test preparations.

    Gertz failed to mention that, referring to Admiral Paige as “a second Missile Defense Agency official” obscurring her reason for attending the briefing.

    If you just read the Washington Times, you would have missed the point of the conference call.

    As for your trivial observation that Ground Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) test failures shouldn’t indict the sea-based Aegis system, it is a total strawperson. No one that I know suggests canceling the Aegis program because of problems in the GMD testing program. Objections to the Aegis program are centered on their own highly-scripted tests.