Missile Defense System Would Cost
U.S. $60B Over 15 Years
04/25/00 09:23:03 PM U.S. EDT
WASHINGTON (AP)--Erecting a missile defense system to give the United States limited protection from ballistic missile attack would cost nearly $60 billion through the year 2015, according to a congressional report released today.
The Congressional Budget Office said that if successfully engaged, a national defense system would defend the entire country against several tens of missiles. It cautioned, however, that many believe that a country just developing long-range missiles could use simple countermeasures rendering a missile defense system impotent.
The report, said Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), “confirms my fears that we are rushing into a decision on national missile defense without knowing everything we should about the financial, technological and diplomatic implications.”
But Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), a leading proponent of missile defense, said there was “no way” it would cost $60 billion. He said that while “you can’t put a price tag on protecting American cities,’’ the CBO estimate was “totally out of line, out of synch with anything I’ve seen.”
The Clinton administration, pressured by the Republican-led Congress, which says the country is dangerously vulnerable to missile attack from rogue nations, has conditionally agreed to a limited missile defense system.
The president is expected to make a decision this fall, after the Pentagon in June conducts another test of the anti-missile system, on whether to go ahead with plans to have the system operating by a target date of 2005.