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'Foretesting' ABM Systems: Some Hazards

methodology (1968),
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"Foretesting"

whether any other equally wrong theory might not produce equally convincing results.
As we have seen, a postulation may have value even though wrong if its investigation can establish some sort of bound on possible weapons system performance in the absence of any more direct evidence. This process of bounding or setting limits on capabilities gives no inherent validity to the postulation itself, however. Certainly more than a single postulation was possible on the basis of information available to Mr. Tauss and Data Dynamics, Inc., when the reported study was accomplished.   Indeed, the location of the R&D Hen House at Sary Shagan makes its inclusion in an endoatmospheric system quite an attractive possibility. Later information, to be sure, proved that this was not the case. Because of the number of possibilities which existed, however, and the lack of sufficient information to rule out all but one at the time this work was done, the contention that it reflected ABM defenses as they really would develop was simply not a credible claim. This would remain true even if time had showed the model to be entirely correct. It was not accepted at the time as a credible description of Soviet ABM defenses and consequently lacked the impact claimed for it.
The article contends that the understanding of Soviet developments achieved as a result of this analysis led to major changes in U.S. countermeasures developments. I am unaware of any direct causal association of this sort, though changes did occur in this time period. It is essential to note that these changes were the result of establishing the frequency at which the Hen House radar operated rather than how it operated. This frequency was actually measured by mid-east intercept sites during the 28 October 1962 nuclear test and analytically associated with ABM surveillance radars by engineers working for Space Technology Laboratories under contract to CIA. These considerations tend to undermine the fundamental message carried by the article and its significance as a "study in intelligence."
The concluding section of the article contends that countermeasures developments should begin early and be supported by intelligence judgments unfettered by detailed knowledge or the agonies of community coordination. This conclusion is not unlike the little girl with the little curl in the middle of her forehead. The effects of vigorously responding to a number of postulations currently caroming about within the ABM intelligence community would be very, very horrid. An insistence upon some evidence and the nasty mechanism
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Posted: May 08, 2007 08:17 AM
Last Updated: Aug 05, 2011 01:58 PM