Long-time space-based missile defense advocate Lowell Wood, officially a scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, has been talking up the Brilliant Pebbles concept that he pushed during the better part of my elementary school years.Wood was at the Capitol Hill Club for an event sponsored by the American Foreign Policy Council and the Marshall Institute. Sharon Weinberger at Defense Daily summarizes Wood's talk (subscription only, I am afraid).Wood's presentation was entitled "Ballistic Missile Defense in an Ideal World".Wood's "ideal world" is one, presumably, where the laws of physics are substantially relaxed. One of his slides caught my eye:
Total life-cycle cost to the Nation to own the Brilliant Pebbles defensive system was $11 B $11 B (89 $)CAIG-validated, DoD-certified-to-Congress cost estimateTight consensus of 3 from the bottom up cost-estimation projectsAll RDT&E, all production-&-deployment; 2 decades opsTotal deployed constellation of 2000 PebblesWorst-case GPALS threat: Typhoon salvo-launching off BermudaClearly met Reagans ..impotent and obsolete.. spec for the SDIHigher cost estimates come from critics-&-opponentsManifestly, professional nafs ?Will you believe this?!?Whatever you think of the critics, the American Physical Society and Congressional Budget Office (1996, 2002 and 2004) are not staffed by "professional nafs."Of all people to hurl this charge, Dr. Wood is not the person with the most credibility.His days pimping the X-Ray laser remain a source of controversy. Worse, in my view, the technically savy Dr. Wood encrypted his .pdf file -- something that took me three seconds to defeat with Elcomsoft.Let's hope Brilliant Pebbles fares better than Wood's encryption when dealing with adversary countermeasures.-- posted by Jeffrey Lewis.