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'Experts say US missile defense strategy flawed'

September 12, 2012 06:32

National Research Council says US vulnerable to type of long-range missiles Iran may be developing, 'NY Times' reports.

Iranian Fateh-110 missile [file]

Iranian Fateh-110 missile 370. (photo credit:REUTERS)

A United States National Research Council report found that the US missile defense system is flawed, and the US is subsequently vulnerable to certain types of long-range strikes, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The 16-person panel, comprising top scientists, engineers and weapon experts, recommended that US President Barack Obama change tack in his defense strategy. It suggested that Obama expand a system he inherited from former US president George W. Bush in order to be better prepared to defeat the type of long-range missiles Iran may be developing, according to the Times.

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In 2009, Obama decided to alter course from the Bush administration's plan, focusing on the threat of shorter-range ballistic missiles to US forces and allies in Europe and the Middle East.

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The National Research Council report, however, called the existing antimissile arms "fragile” and full of “shortcomings that limit their effectiveness against even modestly improved threats.”

"For too long, the US has been committed to expensive missile defense strategies without sufficient consideration of the costs and real utility,” the panel’s co-chairman L. David Montague was quoted as saying. 

The Pentagon, however, dismissed the report as "pedestrian," according to the Times.    

Earlier Tuesday, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that if Iran decides to make a nuclear weapon, the United States would have a little more than a year to act to stop it.

Panetta said the United States has the capability to prevent Iran from building an atomic bomb.

"We have the forces in place to be able to not only defend ourselves, but to do what we have to do to try to stop them from developing nuclear weapons," he said on CBS's "This Morning" program.
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