Jeffrey LewisTrey Obering is a Fool

Or not: MDA spokesman Rick Lehner provided a transcript of Obering’s statement that is (1) different from what the WaPo reported and (2) consistent with policy. Lehner’s transcript is the second comment. I’ve added another post on the subject.

Director of the Missile Defense agency, Lieutenant General Henry A. “Trey” Obering III, reportedly told a breakfast meeting that the United States should expand the Ballistic Missile Defense System to target Chinese strategic deterrent:

The U.S. military is also cooperating with Japan and other Asian nations to address what the Pentagon considers a growing threat from China’s short-range ballistic missiles in the region, while also developing the means to counter an attack by China’s long-range missiles.

“What … we have to do is, in our development program, be able to address the Chinese capabilities, because that’s prudent,” Obering told defense reporters at a breakfast meeting. [Emphasis mine]

The Bush Administration, as a policy, states that the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) is “intended to defend against threats or attacks from rogue states” and “would not be a threat to China.”

That’s not me talking, that’s then-Assistant Secretary of State Jim Kelly.

The Bush Administration has good reason to reassure the Chinese on this account.

Why did Obering shoot his mouth off today of all days? Why did he choose the same day that Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing repudiated general Zhu Chenghu’s idiotic comment about using nuclear weapons first in a conflict over Taiwan, declaring that China:

… will not first use nuclear weapons at any time and under any condition.

Hey Tre, how about you and General Zhu grab a couple of cups of shut the f*ck up?


  1. EARL (History)

    It is amazing that the government can flap jaws about expanding the coverage of a system that, by it’s own admission, does not work.

    Let’s see… we can’t test the system or ‘they’ will know how little it works.

    When the best you can say about a system is that it has a better than zero chance of an intercept, and that it will get better, advanced capabilities do not come to mind.

    and just who is supposed to feel threatened by this carnival of imbeciles?

    [I intend to use the phrase “carnival of imbeciles in a future post. JGL.]

  2. Rick Lehner Missile Defense Agency (History)

    You really should have waited for a transcript of the general’s remarks to the Defense Writers Group. As you will see below (transcribed from an audio tape) Lt Gen Obering made the point that a U.S. missile defense system was not directed against China.

    “We are not desiring to go against a Chinese threat, but we need to, in our development program, to address the Chinese capabilities, because that’s prudent, because oftentimes technologies that are developed by one country find their way into other nations, so we have to be cognizant of that…and so we are not developing a missile defense for the Chinese, but we need to be cognizant of that, and keep track of their development program.”

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