President Trump personally rolled out the Pentagon’s "Missile Defense Review" that he called for two years ago. Most notably, from my perspective, is the fact that he specifically called for space based defenses, with the only qualification being that they were to be "defensive."
In effect, these were the same conditions that President Ronald Reagan imposed on his Strategic Defensive Initiative (SDI) some 35 years ago. And the most cost-effective product of the SDI era (1983-93) was a space-based interceptor system that was scuttled by the Clinton administration as one of its first acts in 1993.
As previously discussed, this Brilliant Pebbles program not only was strongly supported by the first three SDI directors and the first Missile Director Agency that had to pick up the pieces after the major budget cuts of the Clinton administration. It also would pose an immediate direct response to the near term hypersonic threats claimed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
No president since George H.W. Bush has seriously considered a space-based defense program — until now.
President Trump’s directives hopefully include consideration of the best product of Reagan’s SDI, a quarter century later with more advanced technology, which can lead to an even more capable defense for less money.
That system, called Brilliant Pebbles, underwent an in-depth series of technical reviews in 1989-90 and was approved by the Pentagon’s Defense Acquisition Executives as the first SDI concept to enter a formal Concept Development (DemVal) Program in 1990.
President Trump’s directions have provided conditions for which I have hoped. It remains to be seen whether the Pentagon powers that be follow through — especially in concert with their response to the president’s call for a Space Force.
Ambassador Henry F. (Hank) Cooper, Chairman of High Frontier and an acknowledged expert on strategic and space national security issues, was President Ronald Reagan's Chief Negotiator at the Geneva Defense and Space Talks with the Soviet Union and Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) Director during the George H.W. Bush administration. Previously, he served as the Assistant Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, Deputy Assistant USAF Secretary and Science Advisor to the Air Force Weapons Laboratory. In the private sector he was Chairman of Applied Research Associates, a high technology company; member of the technical staff of Jaycor, R&D Associates and Bell Telephone Laboratories; a Senior Associate of the National Institute for Public Policy; and Visiting Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees from Clemson and a PhD from New York University, all in Mechanical Engineering. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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