17.919: Declassify This!

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Professor Postol talk summary

Scientific Fraud in the National Missile Defense Program

The currently under development National Missile Defense System is designed to intercept nuclear warheads at high altitudes in the near vacuum of space. This design feature makes the defense extremely vulnerable to very simple decoy countermeasures that need only work in the near vacuum of space. A still more problematic feature of this defense is that its interceptors - called homing kill vehicles - must discriminate between warheads and decoys by analyzing the infrared signals from distant real and false targets during a period of roughly 60 seconds from target acquisition to flyby. Not surprisingly, experimental data on targets and decoys taken in an experiment flown in June of 1997 revealed that relatively simple infrared decoys could not be discriminated from warheads. Much of the data from this experiment was censored by the missile defense government contractor with the knowledge and approval of Department of Defense managers. In addition, data that showed the system could not discriminate was concealed from scientific review, and analysis of the remaining data was improperly altered to create scientifically insupportable outcomes that created the appearance to non-specialists that the kill vehicle would be able to discriminate between warheads and decoys.

This talk will describe the nature of the collusion between Government managers and contractors, and show data that was used to create the false case that discrimination had been demonstrated. It will also be shown that the analysis was further fraudulently bolstered by tampering with the experimental data, and critical science-based signature results. In addition, evidence will be shown that the entire follow-on test program was altered to hide the fact that the defense-system could not function against the simplest of decoys.