Missile Defence and Cyber

On the first day of the recent RUSI Missile Defence Conference, there was no answer to questions about Missile Defence Systems’ vulnerability to Cyberattack. (The Conference is sponsorded by both the US Missile Defense Agency and by the Industry.) One of the official US Speakers did admit that they worried about Cyber…

Now, after what we have learnt about both FLAME and OLYMPIC GAMES, my guess is that no Missile Defence Systems could certainly ever be declared “CyberInvulnerable”, either today or in any long run. Both of them are probably US-Israeli, and fairly long-standing; other governments – the Russian, the Chinese, even the UK’s – are known not to be sitting on their hands.

In which case the expenditure, as currently proposed, of more than a billion dollars by European NATO, mainly on US equipment, would be quite irresponsible.

The fact that Congress has made US spending on MD equipment in Europe dependent on us Europeans paying up front seems to give us a perhaps convenient veto over the whole thing.

A lot of the affirmations about MD we heard at the Conference, I would not for a moment accept: for instance, one American official claimed that with “5 minutes” notice of an ICBM having been launched, there is ample time for appropriate NATO “command and control” over the launching of the anti-missile…[Make a mistake and World War III begins...]

Nor would I agree that all NATO nations are irrevocably committed to the US-led Missile Defence System. The context has completely changed: now the US system is going Global and is no longer even reputed to be protecting us just against Iran; now we know about the scale of US-Israeli Cyber-colaboration; now we know about the new US Drone strategy, minimally announced in January by the President, and elaborated in early June by the NYT and the IHT.

To this latter strategy, we in NATO surely cannot be automatically considered committed – I trust. It is something quite novel, specifically involving the use, by the CIA, of drones for “targeted attacks” – i.e. for the assassination of individuals more or less identified as enemies of the United States. [Note the expanding, Congressionally unexamined, role of the CIA in the new Strategy. Note too that Israel has long engaged in "targetted attacks" and that Israeli Establishment figures have been forecasting a role for Israel as Cyber-Superpower: perhaps it already is?]

Where, in all this, does the UK figure? In the 1980s, Yasuhiro Nakasone, then Prime Minister of Japan described Britain and Japan as the United States’ “unsinkable Aircraft Carriers, one in the Atlantic, the other in the Pacific”. [Recalled by Bill Emmott, in Survival, June-July 2012, p.235.] Japan, conclusively defeated by the US in 1945, and today welcoming the US’ various anti-China positions (including Missile Defences), may accept this role. But it is not one the United Kingdom should today be accepting.

Note too the President’s rather new cosyings-up to David Cameron, first after Cameron had “snubbed Europe” (Presidential Aircraft + a football match and burgers in the Middle West), then manly exercises together in the Gym at (?) Camp David just the other day. “Europe with the UK inside” would certainly be quite a global competitor to the US (Cf. US GDP to Europe+UK GDP) so it has to be more convenient for the US to have us outside, and subservient. (It even looks as if our Security Services, on behalf of their American buddies, are wanting today’s Justice and Security Bill to allow them greater jurisdiction over the withholding of information from the Courts.)


Now that the massive US-Israeli Cyberwarfare against Iran has been outed, together with the expansion of “drone” warfare, anything “warfare” may collapse.

The Old World of Warfare with Heavy Weapons and lots of Soldiers is gone for keeps.

What the good old “Military Industrial Complex” will make of this New World remains to be seen…

Missile Defences had been looking really promising, and with Defence expenditures the only Government spending the US Republicans accept as legitimate, what, in Keynesian stimulus terms, remains open to the Administration? And what will the rest of the world do with American weapons suspected of being cyber-infected, either by the US or by Israel? Who will want to buy them?

Missile Defence systems promised to be a great boondoggle – one seriously dependent on making Russia and China appear positively inimical and dangerous. This has been being done partly by insulting their leaderships, partly by winding them up – Missile Defence non-negotiations in the Start context – and partly by winding up their neighbours – in the South China Sea, for instance.

And of course Iran has been very convenient…

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