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Politics & Government

Missile defense system ineffective, costly, but Michigan congressional leaders want it anyway

Citizens at a public event in 2015 expressed some concern about making Battle Creek a military target. But more were interested in the potential jobs the missile complex may deliver.
Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio
Citizens at a public event last year expressed some concern about making Battle Creek a military target. But more were interested in the potential jobs the missile complex may deliver.

All of the Michigan congressional delegation -- with the exception of Congressman Justin Amash -- signed a letter urging the Missile Defense Agency to locate interceptor missiles at Fort Custer near Battle Creek.

Amash said he didn’t sign the letter because it emphasized economic reasons rather than military ones. He basically said those decisions should be based on military necessity. Fort Custer is one of three final sites being considered. The other two are Camp Ravenna in Ohio and Fort Drum in New York.

These interceptor missiles are called the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system- GMD for short. They’re designed to intercept incoming nuclear missiles. However, the problem is that the GMD system is flawed. The L.A. Times reported during tests the interceptors failed to destroy their targets six out of eleven times. That’s a dismal record when the job is to intercept nuclear missiles from North Korea, or Russia, or another hostile country. Despite the failure rate, the manufacturer got a $2 billion bonus.
The Union of Concerned Scientists concluded the GMD system is simply unable to protect the U.S. public. Laura Grego, the senior scientist for global security at the Union of Concerned Scientists, joined Stateside to talk about her concerns about the GMD interceptor missile system.

Listen to the full interview above to hear Grego's analysis of the program and why a flawed program is continuing to receive billions of dollars in funding.

(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunesGoogle Play, or with this RSS link)

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