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Making the Case for Limited Missile Defense

Regarding the article "Star Wars in the Land of Oz," July 9: The congressman who wrote this is dead wrong when he states that "most knowledgeable scientists and military strategists have walked away from this program." Recent successful experiments, and indeed the interception of Scud missiles with the Patriot, are ample evidence of the technical feasibility of missile defense.Even the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Democrat Les Aspin, agrees that technological feasibility is not the issue. Aspin believes that the real issue is an emerging consensus in Congress on deploying some form of missile defense. The only question dividing most experts is exactly what kind of defense. In an attempt to resolve that issue, the president has called for a refocusing of the SDI program to a version called Global Protection Against Limited Strikes (GPALS), which would provide protection against limited ballistic-missile attacks. It would defend against accidental or unauthorized launches from the Soviet Union or attacks by third-world countries on our allies, our forces abroad, or the continental US. The latter is a real concern, for the CIA estimates that by the year 2000 some 24 third-wor ld countries will possess ballistic missiles. GPALS will cost about $46 billion over 14 years or $6 billion to $7 billion a year, roughly 2 percent of the defense budget. US Rep. Jon Kyl, Washington

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