SpaceNews features comments about the US national missile shield made by the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. James Winnefeld, at the Atlantic Council’s conference on US and Global Missile Defense on May 28, 2014:
The vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed confidence about an upcoming intercept test of the troubled U.S. national missile shield, but acknowledged that the pressure to have a success is higher than usual. “I’m not going to sit here and predict it will be a 100 percent chance that it will be a success, but I think we’ve dramatically raised the odds it will succeed next month,” Navy Adm. James “Sandy” Winnefeld said May 28.
The test — known as FTG-06b — will help determine whether the Pentagon is ready to buy 14 more Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) interceptors for installation at Fort Greely, Alaska. The planned purchase is a key part of the Obama administration’s plan to bolster the nation’s defenses against an attack from North Korea, a country that Winnefeld described as the United States’ No. 1 missile defense priority.
“I personally don’t think it’s going to fail,” Winnefeld said at a missile defense conference hosted by the Atlantic Council here. Nonetheless, if the test were to fail, he said, “I don’t think it would be a shot to the head. … We’re still committed to this program.”