Pointing out that the current system is “very expensive and has limited effectiveness,” a new panel authorized by Congress is pushing for a new, considerably more aggressive program focusing on defending the east coast from entirely hypothetical Iranian missiles.
Of course Iran doesn’t have a single missile that could theoretically come anywhere near US territory, but the current program is nominally focused on protected Europe from Iranian missiles, and they don’t have the range to hit Europe either, so that’s apparently a minor complaint.
The plan pushes for considerable and expensive new programs, but claims that it would be cost neutral on the assumption that other existing portions of the current missile defense program might conceivably be scrapped. In practice, of course, scrapping programs is always harder than creating new ones, and the report’s new spending would likely be much easier to sell Congress on than the cuts to pay for it.
Russia has long complained that the missile defense is actually aimed at them, not Iran, and would be a violation of the existing arms control treaties between the US and Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed additional concern at the program now, as Gov. Mitt Romney has termed Russia as America’s primary enemy.