The Instigator
repete21
Pro (for)
Winning
29 Points
The Contender
Spiral
Con (against)
Losing
28 Points

The United States Federal Government should continue to invest in a missle defence system.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/14/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,997 times Debate No: 4032
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (15)

 

repete21

Pro

Spiral I noticed you have a 100 percent win ratio and decided I would challenge you, this should be a very interesting debate.

A missile defence system is crucial to any country's defense. I will list some of the advantages to a missile defense system.

1- It shows any aggressor that they cannot use an intercontinental ballistic missile -ICBM- against us successfully, which could help to deter any attacks.

2- It helps protect citizens from any possible missile attacks, including chemical, biological, or nuclear.

3- It provides an early warning in case of an attack which takes the element of surprise away from the enemy.

Will the increases in technology missiles are becoming more and more widespread. North Korea has recently tested missiles which could cary nuclear warheads, there is reason to believe that Iran may be looking into similar options, and tensions in Pakistan and Russia could cause nuclear weapons to fall into the wrong hands. Iran poses a serious threat. They are known to aid terrorist whose only goal is often to bring the destruction of America. If they gave terrorists missiles with nuclear warheads a missile defense system could be the only thing between us and nuclear war. To be caught with our guard down in today's world could be catastrophic and a missile defense system allows us to be ready for attacks 24/7.

There are many other reasons for a missile defense system, and I cannot think of anything bad about a missile defense system. I look forward to seeing what arguments you come up with.
Spiral

Con

Thanks for the challenge, it should be fun.

No country has initiated the deployment of ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States. North Korea, is years away from developing a reliable Ballistic Missile system that could deliver any warhead to the United States. North Korea's current need for support from the international community, and more importantly its action and interest toward the reunification of Korea, seriously undermine the possibility of it launching any kind of attack. North Korea has halted its missile flight testing, in an agreement with the US to loosen trade sanctions. In Iran it is unlikely that it will begin testing long range missiles, especially considering the international scrutiny already pointed in its direction. Iraq is even less of a threat, with most of its missile infrastructure destroyed since the latest war. Additionally Iraq is under severe sanctions, which limits its capability to acquire missiles and subsequent technology from other nations.

One hundred and twenty-two billion dollars have been spent on Theatre and National Missile Defence (NMD) since World War II. The Pentagon forecasts it will cost 26.6 billion dollars to maintain a single missile defence site in Alaska, with an additional 4 billion dollars in annual maintenance fees. Each ballistic missile test conducted by the US has cost over 100 million dollars, with around half resulting in failures. In total, the US has spent 5.6 trillion dollars in nuclear arsenals. I'm sure we can all think of better uses for the money being spent.

CPSR, Volume 19, 2

The 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) was one of the first steps in ending the Cold War, by reaching an agreement to downsize the number or anti-ballistic missile systems. Although both the United States and Russia have violated the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in prior years, it is still a valuable and significant treaty that serves as the backbone for arms reduction and future disarmament. The slightest indication of NMD construction would violate the treaty, alienating international ties (i.e. defence base in Poland).

The stated purpose of NMD is to protect the US from a limited attack by strategic, long range ballistic missiles armed with devastating weapons (conventional, nuclear, chemical, and biological). Scenarios for such a limited attack, range from a few, to hundreds of missiles. Seen as the most probable, these attacks would be: an unplanned or unauthorized launch from Russia, an accidental, unofficial, or purposeful attack from China, or a planned attack from other countries that have, or may, acquire long range capabilities (e.g., North Korea, and Iran). Ballistic missiles are rocket driven, and have three discrete stages: the boost stage from launch within earth's atmosphere to space, next a midcourse stage in the vacuum of space and finally the fatal stage where the missile re-enters the earth's atmosphere to the intended site. Ballistic missiles propulsion occurs only in the boost stage then the missile normally follows a path according to the laws of physics in the Earth's gravitational field to its target. Therefore NMD has only limited capability and is vulnerable to both being under flown by short-range missiles and cruise missiles as well as being over flown by intelligent ballistic missiles that do not directly follow the laws of gravity and intelligently manoeuvre.

Neumann, P. G. Inside Risks: Missile Defense, Communications of the ACM, Vol. 43 No 9, Sept. 2000, p. 128.

NMD has the distinctive requirement that it must work perfectly on first use. This is an unparalleled requirement for any system approaching the extent and intricacy of NMD. Analogous systems include the US Navy's Aegis anti-missile system, Lucent's 5ESS telephone switch software, and Microsoft Windows operating system. All these systems have had decades to locate and debug errors and all have had, and carry on having, significant failures. New software upgrades on these established systems rarely perform reliably despite rigorous testing and simulation. Thus it is indeed likely that NMD will experience a software failure upon first use. The question needs to be asked as to whether this software error will prove catastrophic to overall intercept functionality.

Sessler, A.M. et. al., Countermeasures: A Technical Evaluation of the Operational Effectiveness of the Planned US National Missile Defense System, Union of Concerned Scientists/MIT Security Studies Program Report, April 2000.

Yurcik, W. and D. Doss, Achieving Fault-Tolerant Software with Rejuvenation and Reconfiguration, IEEE Software, July/August 2001, pp. 48-52.

One of the easiest countermeasures to NMD is submunition. The firing of hundreds of submunitions at the end of the boost phase would overwhelm the NMD system, rendering it useless. An additional countermeasure could be achieved by implementing indistinguishable decoys that are released with the warhead. This would necessitate the defence system to launch an interceptor at each target in the hopes of hitting the actual warhead (costly, unlikely, and highly vulnerable). These high altitude countermeasures highlight yet another terrible flaw in the defence system. Delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction (conventional, nuclear, biological, and chemical) are more flexible so that a ballistic missile assault may not be the preferred method used by terrorists or a rogue nation (as already seen).

To put it plainly, the NMD is flawed both in software, and deployment. It is highly vulnerable to countermeasures, there is no guarantee that an attack will occur that will require the NMD. The costs are exorbitant, and it endangers international treaties.
Debate Round No. 1
repete21

Pro

You stated that 122 billion dollars have been spent on missile defense since the end of world war two but when you look at the scale of things, how much is 122 billion dollars? In the hands of a person or a corporation 122 billion dollars is an unfathomable fortune, but this awe factor cannot be associated with governments, 122 billion dollars is "chump change" to the government, especially when spread over 6 decades, assuming it was spent equally each year, it would only be around 2 billion a year, a rather small price to pay for the security of our nation. You stated that the government has spent 5.6 trillion dollars on nuclear arsenals but nuclear weapons are not used in defense against missiles.

Your argument on the ABM treaty is flawed in that the treaty doesn't say that there can be no systems for missile defense, rather that they should be limited. With more investments these limits would not have to be crossed to protect our nation.

Your third argument is illogical in that the missiles used by NMD are not the same as your run of the mill ballistic missile. They work in an entirely different way which never requires them to leave the atmosphere. I would also like for you to show evidence that a missile can evade missiles launched by NMD with current technology.

You have stated that the software and technology in NMD are flawed but you have overlooked several things.

1- Your evidence is from 2000, since 2000 we have come a long way.

2- Your evidence refers to analogous systems, which are often flawed and rarely used in today's warfare.

3- The fact that there may be flaws is more reason to invest money and get the problems fixed.

You have provided one example of a missile which may work but that missile would;

not be able to carry a nuclear warhead large enough to be highly effective

not be able to carry large conventional munitions

not be able to carry large amounts of chemical or biological weapons

To sum up my arguments, my opponents arguments have been exagerative, irrelevant to current technology, and have not been in depth enough to show us the whole picture. To stop a program like this simply because it costs money and risk the lives of Americans is foolish. A missile attack has never happened, as we know, but before 9/11 had a terrorist ever used an airplane as a weapon so effectively? Before the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima had an atomic weapon ever been used? Before the revolutionary war were the "guerrilla" tactics of militia members used? The answer is always no, and the effects of these changes in warfare have always been devastating, to assume that the norm in warfare will stay the same is foolish, and risky. Finally, many of the problems with current and past systems can be solved with enough money and research, and although pushing money at the problem is seldom a solution, in this case cutting funding could be fatal.
Spiral

Con

"You stated that 122 billion dollars have been spent on missile defense ..."

Well we can safely assume the government wasn't spending 2 billion in 1950, but you need to remember that this is a single military program amongst many, a program that has a trial failure rate of around 50%. It has twice as much funding as any other weapon system. The last US financial budget included the elimination of 141 programs for $15 billion. In addition to restraining discretionary spending, the 2007 Budget proposed reforms to mandatory programs that would cut an additional $59 billion. The government is drastically cutting programs to fuel unnecessary spending. To put it in perspective, remember this is a single defence program, not the entire Armed forces budget; education receives 54billion, National Science Administration receives a measly 6 billion.

http://www.whitehouse.gov...

"Your argument on the ABM treaty is ..."

Firstly I never said that the treaty was about an absolute zero defence, the treaty is about non proliferation. George Bush withdrew from the treaty in 2002, stopped talks with N. Korea, America then proceeded to increase its ballistic capabilities. This is called an arms race, it was the reason the treaty was proposed after the cold war. When one country procures a weapons technology, the response is to match then up the ante, and this is exactly what the NMD is about. It is an active force in the very thing it aims to deploy against.

"He is concerned that the annulation of this treaty may provoke an arms race, especially in the missile area, and further undermine disarmament and non-proliferation regimes. He calls upon all states to explore new binding and irreversible initiatives to avert such unwelcome effects." (14 December 2001, UN Web Site, Statement of the Secretary-General(Kofi Annan))

"Your third argument is illogical in that the missiles used by NMD ..."

Unfortunately you show a lack of knowledge about the system itself, the Aegis component of the NMD grid is designed primarily to intercept IBMs in the boost and midcourse stage. Ground based interceptors target the midcourse and terminal stage. Yes the system requires atmospheric interception, mainly due to the safe zone of detonation and secondly, once the missile re enters the atmosphere, time to impact is <30s. Remember, the purpose of the NMD is the defence from Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.

"Your evidence is from 2000, since 2000 we have come a long way."

Feel free to show me exactly how those same issues are not relevant today, I will be showing you they are shortly.

"Your evidence refers to analogous systems, which are often flawed and rarely used in today's warfare."

Analogous: corresponding in some particular
http://dictionary.reference.com...

Analogous isn't a system type it's an adjective, in the case I stated, that the NMD defence grid is a technically complex system, ‘like' (analogous) those listed, and susceptible to the same problems.

"The fact that there may be flaws is more reason to invest money and get the problems fixed."

Either the system has flaws or it doesn't which one is it? Additionally, why should the government continue to pump money into a fallible, unnecessary system?

"You have provided one example ..."

How exactly would it not? What basis are you making these claims? Merely saying, I don't think so, is not enough. Again, the mode of delivery for chemical and biological weapons most definitely does not necessitate a missile delivery system. It was also not one missile; it was a brief run on counter measures. There are more, like atmospheric chaff, weapon coolant etc.
______________________________________________

Excerpt from MDI on trials in 2006 "Wednesday's trial had been put off four times because of bad weather at launch sites and, on Sunday, because a radio transmitter failed." The system cannot operate in bad weather? Hardly promising. To put it bluntly, Bush is to deploying very expensive weapons, without the slightest hint of evidence that they have any chance of being successful.
http://www.mda.mil...

A General Accounting Office report has concluded that "MDA does not explain some critical assumptions—such as an enemy's type and number of decoys—underlying its performance Goals." It urged that "DOD carry out independent, operationally realistic testing of each block being fielded." The DOD replied "formal operational testing is not required before entry into full-rate production."

General Accounting Office report GAO-04-409 Missile Defense: Actions are Needed to Enhance Testing and Accountability

Testing 2007:
FTG-3 was conducted 2Q FY 2007. The purpose was to demonstrate the functionality of the GBI engage on UEWR Beale engagement sequence group (ESG) for a GBI launched from Vandenberg AFB performing all functions through acquisition, discrimination, transition to terminal, and intercepting the lethal object. Due to target failure, interceptor was not launched.

http://www.mda.mil...

The "threats"

N. Korea
North Korea maintains one million men under arms; it is the only nation which is presently militarily hostile to the United States, however, it is a country intermittently hit by famine with a GNP only 4 percent of Taiwan's with test facilities that are primitive. Exchanges between the heads of state of North and South Korea indicate it is coming out of its isolation and acting constructively to improve its international position. Imagine if the US government spent its resources on diplomacy instead.

Iran
Iran's priority is not to threaten the U.S. but to create regional hegemony. For this intercontinental ballistic missiles are unnecessary and inconsequential. Alterations to the diplomatic environment could obviate any Iranian threat. If U.S. - Iranian affairs continue to improve and the domestic influences of Iranian conservatives fade, financial support for missile programs can be cut. Successful U.S. efforts to prevent North Korean, Chinese, and Russian missile exports, which the Iranian program depends, would stifle any Iranian program.

The MDI concedes that the both Iran and N. Korea have no IBM's, additionally countermeasure development isn't part of the current budget (planned sometime....2014...maybe...)

http://www.mda.mil...

Unfortunately my opposite seems to think that his opinion is enough for this debate, it is clearly not, and he has shown no evidence as a basis to any claim. Japan may mutate a lizard into Godzilla, does that mean we should develop "what if" scenarios and budgets for that too? Hardly; just because we can conceive a scenario does not make its eventuality any more probable, or the solution linear. My opponent's belief that throwing enough money at something will make it work is foolish and irresponsible of the government that does so, when there are more alternatives available.
Debate Round No. 2
repete21

Pro

repete21 forfeited this round.
Spiral

Con

My opponent has forfeited and concedes all arguments.

How Doth The Little Crocodile
Lewis Carroll

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spread his claws,
And welcome little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DrAlexander 8 years ago
DrAlexander
Wow, that's impressive.
Good luck, clinical psychology is an excellent career, I've always been interested in neuroscience.
Posted by Spiral 8 years ago
Spiral
Psycholgy, currently finishing my Masters in Clinical Psychology with developmental stream.
Posted by DrAlexander 8 years ago
DrAlexander
Aha, I had a feeling.
If you don't mind me asking, what did you major?
Posted by Spiral 8 years ago
Spiral
Post grad, final year, DrAlexander. *finally!*
Posted by DrAlexander 8 years ago
DrAlexander
Spiral has alot of sources..
Spiral is probably a college student..?
Posted by Korezaan 8 years ago
Korezaan
ABL > ABM.

GAME OVER!

Spiral does a lot of research.
Posted by DrAlexander 8 years ago
DrAlexander
Looks like I didn't make the cut...
Frowns*
:D
Posted by Yraelz 8 years ago
Yraelz
I didn't feel like adding myself to that list. Thought I would impressed with you if you beat me. =) Well depending on the debate and what you chose to run as an argument.
Posted by Spiral 8 years ago
Spiral
*smiles* Thanks for the compliments, not sure about the robotic one though. *laughs* Oh and Yraelz, you forgot to add yourself to that list.
Posted by DoubleXMinus 8 years ago
DoubleXMinus
I approached the way I did on purpose, Yraelz -- I don't want to just come along and leave the comment, "So Spiral, you sound sort of robotic..." you know? So I was putting it nicely and it's not like they're undue compliments, so I rather thought it all worked out.

And, are you at a disadvantage when the person you're up against has more education than you? Certainly. Does that mean that's the end of it? No.

I couldn't agree with you more about theLwerd, Brittwaller and Beem0r.
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Vi_Veri
repete21SpiralTied
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