Abl aff ddi 2010 1 N/U: Development now abl is being tested and developed now

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ABL Aff DDI 2010


N/U: Development now
ABL is being tested and developed now
Turner Brinton, writer at Space News International, "Airborne Laser Gears Up for Next Shoot-down Test", 6/18/10, http://www.spacenews.com/military/100618-airborne-laser-gears-for-next-shoot-down-test.html//avi

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s Airborne Laser (ABL) is being prepared for a late July test in which it will attempt to shoot down an ascending target missile from twice the distance of the aircraft’s previous intercept tests, the program’s top official said. Originally conceived as an operational military system that would use a high-power chemical laser to destroy ballistic missiles in the early stages of flight, the ABL platform — only one has been built — has been relegated to the role of technology test-bed. The program is funded by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) through September, but its future is uncertain beyond that.

N/U: Effective Now
Tests prove the ABL is effective now—that should have triggered their impact
Turner Brinton, writer at Space News International, "Airborne Laser Gears Up for Next Shoot-down Test", 6/18/10, http://www.spacenews.com/military/100618-airborne-laser-gears-for-next-shoot-down-test.html//avi
The modified Boeing 747-400 aircraft made its long-awaited debut in February. In one test flight, the ABL fired on and destroyed a boosting sounding rocket known as a MARTI. Eight days later, the aircraft succeeded in its first attempt to shoot down a threat-representative, liquid-fueled target missile. During the same flight test, it fired on a second liquid-fueled missile, but a problem caused the weapon system to shut itself down before the target was destroyed. The MDA will not reveal the aircraft’s distance from its target in any of those tests. The most important lessons from the ABL’s first intercept tests were that it actually worked, and it was more efficient and lethal than expected, said U.S. Air Force Col. Robert McMurry, the MDA’s ABL program manager. “What I think it’s proven is the beam control system and the atmospheric compensation and the power out of the laser are all working extraordinarily well to put power on target,” McMurry said in a June 16 interview.
N/U: Funding now
The DoD will increase ABL funding now
Turner Brinton, writer at Space News International, "Airborne Laser Gears Up for Next Shoot-down Test", 6/18/10, http://www.spacenews.com/military/100618-airborne-laser-gears-for-next-shoot-down-test.html//avi

In February, the Defense Department announced that ABL would be relegated to a research and development test-bed and transferred from MDA to the research-and-development arm within the office of the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. The MDA eliminated ABL’s dedicated funding line but created a new line for directed energy programs, for which it requested $99 million for 2011. The Pentagon is expected to complete a study this month on its entire portfolio of directed energy programs, which will likely determine ABL’s future role.

N/U: Deployment inevitable
Deployment of ABL’s is inevitable
Christian Science Monitor, international news organization, Chris Gaylord, "Airborne laser shoots down missile in mid-flight", 2/12/10, http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Horizons/2010/0212/Airborne-laser-shoots-down-missile-in-mid-flight//avi
Last night, the military officially entered the age of airborne laser weapons. A large laser mounted to the front of a modified 747 jet successfully detected and shot down a ballistic missile while both were in mid-flight. The airborne laser program – part Star Wars (the sci-fi flick) and part Star Wars (the Strategic Defense Initiative) – has taken years of work and billions of dollars it get here. But the Pentagon can now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station. "While ballistic missiles like the one [the Airborne Laser Testbed] destroyed move at speeds of about 4,000 miles per hour, they are no match for a super-heated, high-energy laser beam racing towards it at 670 million mph," says defense contractor Northrop Grumman in a release after announcing the successful test Friday. Thursday night, a test missile fired from an "at-sea mobile launch platform" – likely a ship or submarine. The 747 detected the liquid-fueled missile and fired three different beams. The first, a low-energy laser, allowed the system to track the missile. Its second blast monitored the atmosphere between the aircraft and the target to better hone the final stage. Once the system has locked on, it powers up what Boeing calls "the most powerful mobile laser device in the world." The third stage actually involves six laser modules, each the size of a sport-utility vehicle, that fire in unison through a telescope-like lens located at the front of the 747. "When fired through a window in the aircraft's nose turret, it produces enough energy in a 5-second burst to power a typical household for more than one hour," says the US Air Force. The beam cannot slice through a missile, lightsaber-style, but rather heats up pressurized portions of weapons, rupturing them. In Thursday's test, the airborne laser disabled the test missile two minutes after it launched.

Prolif -> ABL inevitable
Proliferation makes ABL development inevitable
Christopher Bolkcom and Steven A. Hildreth, Specialists in National Defense, Congressional Research Service, "Airborne Laser (ABL): Issues for Congress", 7/9/07, www.fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL32123.pdf//avi

Congress has provided strong funding support ballistic missile defenses in the face of growing concerns about the proliferation of missiles around the world. Of all the current efforts, most missile defense advocates believe the ABL shows the best near-term promise for destroying enemy ballistic missiles during their boost-phase. While the missile is still in the earth’s atmosphere, the airborne laser would seek to rupture or damage the target’s booster skin to cause the missile to lose thrust or flight control and fall short of the intended target before decoys, warheads, or submunitions are deployed. The expectation is that this would occur near or even over the enemy’s own territory. Second, although the United States has primarily pursued kinetic energy kill mechanisms for missile defense some 25 years, many defense analysts believe that if the United States chooses to pursue increasingly effective missile defenses for the longer term future, then alternative concepts such as high-powered lasers may be the answer.
No Compensation: Obama
Obama will inevitably strike down ABL regardless of support for it
Arthur Herman, former professor of history at George Mason and Georgetown; most recent book is "Gandhi and Churchill.", "'Star Wars' lives", 7/26/10, NY Post,


Last Monday, the Navy announced that in May it had shot down four unmanned aerial vehicles in an experiment using solid-state laser technology developed in collaboration with the Raytheon Company. What was once dismissed as "Stars Wars," Ronald Reagan's dream of a robust anti-missile laser shield for America, is now a major step closer to reality. The program has become vital not just to American security, but to America's coming role as a world power in the 21st century -- yet the White House is getting ready to pull the plug. On March 23, 1983, Reagan spoke to the nation of the possibility of developing technologies for intercepting and destroying ballistic missiles before they reached our soil. He admitted that the technology for such an anti-missile shield didn't yet exist -- but he had faith that American engineering know-how, and the American sense of the duty to defend freedom, would eventually get us there. At once, a chorus of naysayers arose. Sen. Ted Kennedy scornfully branded the program "Star Wars," implying that the Strategic Defense Initiative had more in common with science fiction than strategic reality. The American Physical Society issued a report dismissing the whole idea as technically impossible. But the Soviets weren't laughing. Realizing that the crumbling Communist economy could never compete at this new technological level, Premier Mikhail Gorbachev forced drastic changes that contributed directly to the USSR's collapse in 1989. Yet that didn't change liberal critics' minds. Having denounced Star Wars for destabilizing the balance of power in the Cold War (which it did, but to America's advantage), they decided it posed a similar threat to stability in the post-Cold War world. One of its fiercest foes was then-Sen. Joe Biden, who declared that the program's mere existence erected "a huge wall in the path of future arms control." And surely no one wanted to sink more money into a technology that wouldn't work, anyway. Then the debate suddenly changed. When Iraqi Scud missiles threatened Israel during the first Gulf War in 1991, a company named Raytheon deployed a battery of Patriot anti-missile missiles to protect the Jewish state. Their performance in shooting down Scuds -- far from perfect, but still a demonstration of the possibilities -- was a revelation to the American public. Suddenly, Reagan's dream didn't seem so far-fetched after all, even if these interceptors were ground-based. Next, ideological blinders led the Clinton administration to halve funding for missile defense -- but then President George W. Bush refunded it, extending work by companies like Raytheon and Lockheed Martin in its basic technologies. Critics howled with rage. An obscure Illinois state senator named Barack Obama labeled the program "an expensive political boondoggle." But events and technology were again about to pass the critics by. First, 9/11 taught us that the scenario of a nuclear-tipped missile attack by terrorists or a rogue nation like North Korea was no remote threat. Then came the landmark test on Feb. 24, 2005 -- when the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system using a Raytheon-produced interceptor blew a mock enemy missile out of the sky. Using the same technology, the Japanese repeated the success in December 2007. On Feb. 23, 2008, the Missile Defense Agency successfully shot down a malfunctioning US spy satellite -- and Stars Wars was here to stay. Last Monday's announcement simply moved the work on interception technology to the next level, of lasers instead of guided missiles. Yet Obama and Biden still refuse to deal with reality. They still see missile defense as a liability rather than a major strategic asset and a triumph of American science and engineering. Last year, the administration reneged on Bush's deals to build missile-defense sites in Eastern Europe, for fear of offending Gorbachev's successors. It has also targeted the Missile Defense Agency for major cuts, including canceling funding for the Multiple Kill Vehicle interceptor and Transformational Satellite program. It's also killing the next Airborne Laser Program -- ironically, at the recommendation of the American Physical Society, the same group that said anti-missile defense was impossible back in 1987.

Obama won’t fund ABL
Alex Spillius, writer at the Telegraph, "US laser warplane under threat from Barack Obama", 12/23/08,


One of first the first decisions of US defence that the President-elect will face in office will be whether or not to continue funding for the futuristic Airborne Laser weapons programme. The system aims to send an invisible, ultra-powerful laser beam from aircraft hundreds of miles from their targets, and could one day alter the nature of aerial warfare. Primarily designed to strike enemy missile silos, the US Missile Defence Agency has called the ABL the answer to "rogue states" or terror groups equipped with intercontinental ballistic missiles. The first, very limited, test firing was staged in late November. The laser was loaded on to a Boeing 747 and fired from a stationary plane at a target on the ground just a few yards away. But already 12 years in the making and way over budget at $4.3 billion (£2.9 billion), developers Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman fear it could fall victim to the new administration as it seeks to save costs. Mr Obama has stated a preference for abandoning weapons whose efficacy is not yet proven. Boeing is now planning to develop the weapon's planned target range to include aircraft and enemy ballistic missiles in flight. Mike Rinn, head of Boeing's Airborne Laser programme, has indirectly pleaded for leniency from the Obama administration. "We remain on track to complete a lethal demonstration in 2009," he told the New Scientist.
Obama and Congress won’t fund ABL—it’s too costly
JEN DIMASCIO, writer at Politico, "Tauscher: Boeing laser 'insanity'", 3/23/09, http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/20386_Page2.html//avi

In an environment where the president and Congress are preparing to shoot down budget-busting defense programs, Boeing’s Airborne Laser is a clear target. The program — an airplane that fires a speed-of-light laser to intercept ballistic missiles early in flight — is eight years behind schedule and $4 billion over budget, according to Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), a top member of the House Armed Services Committee who’s been tapped by President Barack Obama as the next undersecretary of state for arms control and nonproliferation. “It reminds me of the definition of insanity,” Tauscher said Monday at an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics missile defense conference. “You keep doing the wrong thing over and over and don’t learn from it.” Lawmakers from key Boeing districts, including House Appropriations Committee members Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) and Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), quickly rallied and sent a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates Monday opposing any potential cuts. “Should the ABL be severely under-funded or canceled, the promise of speed-of-light and extreme precision in the hands of the warfighter will disappear, as will the fragile industrial base that supports it,” the letter said. “In short, we will have wasted the resources that have been well invested since the Clinton administration.” Boeing has scheduled a press conference Tuesday to discuss the laser program, as well as its crown jewel — the Ground-based Missile Defense program, which is meant to shield the United States and Europe from incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles, and which also is under threat by budget cutters. Supporters assert that the ground-based system is a key part of a national ballistic missile defense program that so far has cost more than $100 billion. But the program was skewered last week by the Government Accountability Office, which said that since the contract with Boeing was signed in 2001, it has been changed every year, adding about $1.1 billion to the cost and four months of delay with each revision. And because of problems with testing, the Missile Defense Agency still can’t model or simulate the system’s capability, the GAO said.
No Compensation: Deficit
Funds from Iraq withdrawal won’t fund new weapon systems—they will be used to reduce the deficit
David R. Francis, writer at Christian Science Monitor, "Defense budget: After Afghanistan and Iraq withdrawal, a peace dividend?", 3/29/10, http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/David-R.-Francis/2010/0329/Defense-budget-After-Afghanistan-and-Iraq-withdrawal-a-peace-dividend//avi

With the withdrawal of its military forces in Iraq already under way and increasing talk of winding down operations in Afghanistan, the United States is poised to reap a "peace dividend." But it won't rival the one after the end of the cold war – a 40 percent drop in real defense spending during most of the 1990s, saving hundreds of billions of dollars. It won't even be as big as the Obama administration expects, defense budget experts say. The two wars are budgeted to cost $159 billion in fiscal 2011, which starts next October. That's down a tad from 2010. From fiscal 2012 to 2015, the administration pegs the cost at $50 billion a year. But the US won't really save $100 billion a year. "That's not realistic … not likely to happen even if everything goes as well as planned," says Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington think tank. The $50 billion is a "placeholder," a number neither the Defense Department nor outsiders can estimate given the uncertainties of war and political stabilization. Nevertheless, the election in Iraq has raised hopes that the US can shrink its military presence there to 50,000 noncombat troops by September. On March 10, Defense Secretary Robert Gates reportedly also raised the possibility that some of the 33,000 troops involved in the recent buildup in Afghanistan could leave before July 2011, the date set by President Obama for beginning withdrawal. If and when these wars wind down, the US may receive an even bigger peace dividend in the form of overall defense cuts. Huge federal budget deficits will force them. Right now, neither Republicans nor Democrats in Congress are inclined to make serious cuts for fear of being called weak on defense. Without a war, however, members of Congress, particularly Democrats, may begin asking hard questions about weapons programs. There's much to cut, says Christopher Hellman of the National Priorities Project in Northampton, Mass. He calls the defense budget "bloated." The Obama budget set 2011 defense spending at $739 billion. This amounts to 19 percent of total federal outlays. Carl Conetta, director of the Project on Defense Alternatives in Cambridge, Mass., suspects defense spending could be cut as low as $650 billion without seriously damaging American security needs. To trim the deficit, Mr. Obama called for a freeze in discretionary spending but exempted defense.

ABL doesn’t affect MAD
ABL Doesn’t destroy mutually assured destruction—countries would just exploit refueling times
Christopher Bolkcom and Steven A. Hildreth, Specialists in National Defense, Congressional Research Service, "Airborne Laser (ABL): Issues for Congress", 7/9/07, www.fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL32123.pdf//avi

A number of questions are likely to be asked regarding this size of the ABL inventory. The ABL will be a highly visible asset. It is very large, and will be escorted by fighter aircraft. Its high altitude will also help to distinguish it from other wide-body aircraft. Long in-theater on-station time for the ABL is premised on forward basing. These forward bases would likely not have chemical replenishment capabilities, which would necessitate return flights to the United States if the laser is used. It appears plausible that an enemy could wait until an orbiting ABL is being refueled, or is absent before initiating a missile attack. Thus, a force of seven aircraft might only be expected to provide 24-hour theater ballistic missile (TBM) BPI coverage of one theater. DOD’s decision in the Spring of 2006 to postpone the purchase of five ABL aircraft brings the issue of exactly what a small number of ABL aircraft — in this case two — could achieve operationally.

ABL won’t destroy MAD—range is too short
Christopher Bolkcom and Steven A. Hildreth, Specialists in National Defense, Congressional Research Service, "Airborne Laser (ABL): Issues for Congress", 7/9/07, www.fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL32123.pdf//avi

Some observers have questioned how the ABL would be employed to counter intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The consensus is that Russia and China currently field ICBMs that could plausibly threaten the United States; there is no such consensus on the future ability of North Korea or other so-called “rogue states” to field such missiles. (Some believe that such capabilities will emerge in the distant future, if ever. Others see the proliferation of such missiles as inevitable, and that it could occur sooner rather than later.) Current estimates suggest that the ABL’s 400 km range (about 250 miles) is too short to stand outside Russian or Chinese airspace and still engage those countries’ ICBMs in boost phase. Would the ABL fly into these countries’ airspace during crisis to address potential ICBM launches in boost phase? Or would the ABL’s laser need to be more powerful? Or will some alternative be deployed to supplement or replace the ABL for these scenarios?

ABL Good: Laser Industry
ABL development is key to the US laser industry
Christopher Bolkcom and Steven A. Hildreth, Specialists in National Defense, Congressional Research Service, "Airborne Laser (ABL): Issues for Congress", 7/9/07, www.fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL32123.pdf//avi

It is also argued that cancelling the ABL could harm the laser industry writ large, rather than just those sub-industries associated with the ABL. This is because, ABL supporters assert, the ABL program is far and away the largest of its kind, and a “pathfinder” for other laser programs. Cancelling the ABL could slow down the entire U.S. laser development industry, they say. Others may disagree with this argument and argue that ABL survival or cancellation should be based on its own merits. The dearth of laser programs outside of the ABL, they could argue, indicates that the ABL’s cancellation would have little affect on other programs, because there aren’t many to affect.

ABL Good: Deterrence
ABL solves deterrence
Bernard Lavarini, writer at Le Monde, a French newspaper, "Nuclear DeterrenceAccording to Obama", 4/19/10, http://watchingamerica.com/News/53510/nuclear-deterrence-according-to-obama//avi

The ALTB will be integrated into the architecture of the anti-missile shield, the first layer of defense against missile launches. By 2025, when Americans will have developed a laser fortress hovering over the U.S., capable of engaging five to 10 ballistic missiles over the country that deployed them. The cost of a squadron of laser fortresses would be the equivalent to that of the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. If an ALTB is as expensive as a ballistic missile, its marginal usage cost and capacity to nearly instantly deliver forty laser beams will make it difficult to saturate the shield with a massive missile attack. It would be necessary for the aggressor to spend a colossal amount of money in order to succeed. It is the story of the machine gun surpassing the single-shot rifle in one blow. Thus, Americans and President Obama continue to strengthen U.S. capability for deterrence against others with nuclear weapons and take the risk of nuclear retribution. They continue to build up for themselves a nuclear wall in conjunction with a nuclear double-edged sword and a multi-layered anti-missile shield, taking advantage of a persuasive strategy or a new strategy that forces the opponent to initiate aggressive maneuvers. The joint operation of these two strategic instruments would considerably increase the degree of uncertainty faced by the enemy and deprive them of sufficient time to act. Indeed, with the shield, the aggressor would refrain from attacking (deterrence by prevention) and moreover, with the nuclear sword, the aggressor would be forced to speculate on the prohibitive risk of an adverse response (deterrence by retaliation). Thus, thanks to their unmatched power, these new walls will become the most efficient way to defend vital interests.
ABL Good: Terrorism
ABL is key to defend against a terrorist attack
Maj. Gen. Bentley B. Rayburn, who retired from the Air Force in 2006, is the former commandant of the Air War College., "RAYBURN: Killing Airborne Laser jeopardizes America", Washington Times, 3/5/10, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/05/killing-airborne-laser-jeopardizes-america/?page=2//avi

The potential for such lasers goes well beyond missile defense. Since the laser can be aimed with great precision over long distances, and fired for shorter or longer periods of time, it is a versatile tool in our arsenal for any number of situations requiring high mobility, precision and variable force levels. And in the same week, we were also reminded of why we are developing the Airborne Laser defense system: Iran recently claimed the ability to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels and has been steadily developing its missile technology. North Korea, which already possesses nuclear weapons, is pursuing the same course. These and other persistent threats are ominous reminders that it falls to the United States to defend ourselves and our allies against rogue regimes, armed with conventional and unconventional missile technologies. The successful airborne laser test was as welcome and encouraging to most Americans as the ugly face of Iran's dictatorship was unwelcome and menacing. Unfortunately, the Pentagon budget is sorely out of sync with these realities. Congress and the Obama administration are actually defunding the very same Airborne Laser project that has just succeeded in doing something once relegated to science fiction movies. Why is Congress mothballing this program when it is on the threshold of success against such potent threats? The Airborne Laser system is capable of destroying ballistic missiles during their vulnerable "boost" phase. This is the exact kind of defensive weapon America needs in the coming years. Airborne laser defenses are a model of cost-benefit success, costing less than $5 billion over 15 years. While it may be difficult to quantify the deterrent effects of missile defense, we know how terribly expensive a single terrorist strike or a barrage of missiles coming from terrorist safe havens can be. At the very least, the Pentagon should restore the Airborne Laser project to full funding, add money to explore additional applications of the technology and, once the system has proven through further testing that it is capable and reliable, make the single prototype aircraft available to the military during high-threat emergency situations. Washington needs to understand that the American people want their country and their allies to be safe from missile attack, and that they want America to be a leader in technology. When voters see their leadership in Washington killing the most advanced, effective programs we have developed over the years, as they seem to be doing with the Airborne Laser program, they have every reason to send new leaders to Washington who are able to understand the American people - and act in their interests.
ABL Good: Primacy
ABL is key to prevent attacks and maintain US primacy
James Carafano, Deputy Director, The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies and Director, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, "Dumping Airborne Laser Leaves America Vulnerable to Nuclear Attack", 2/22/10, http://www.opposingviews.com/i/dumping-airborne-laser-leaves-america-vulnerable-to-nuclear-attack//avi

On the other hand, here is what the administration won’t admit. There are other threats already out there that the Airborne Laser is well-suited to counter. One such danger is the “Scud in bucket” scenario. Scud missiles are shorter-range weapons, originally manufactured and proliferated worldwide by the Soviets. Today, several other countries make their own versions. These missiles are so readily available — and cheap — that several years ago a U.S. arms collector bought one and tried to ship it home. Iran’s Shahab-3, an advanced Scud variant, seems capable of traveling 1,000 kilometers and carrying as much as a 10-kiloton warhead. It couldn’t reach Washington from Tehran, but then, it wouldn’t have to. Iran could easily extend the missile’s reach simply by moving it to a commercial freighter and firing it from nearby using an improvised vertical launch tube disguised as cargo. In many ways, Scud in a bucket is the ultimate weapon. It could sail close to U.S. waters without being subject to inspection by the Coast Guard or Customs. The enemy could fire the missile and scuttle the ship, leaving no record of who launched the attack. If Iran has one missile and nuclear weapon, it might have two. It could detonate one over New York in a low-altitude air burst that would kill up to a half-million and cripple Manhattan forever. Iran could fire a second at high altitude over the mid-Atlantic states, creating an electro-magnetic pulse that would take down a large portion of the national grid and plunge Washington, D.C., into permanent darkness. America would be crippled in a flash, with no obvious enemy at which to shoot back. An ABL could help neutralize this threat, and others. Advancing the technology alone will give the U.S. a dramatic advantage over potential adversaries. But if the administration has its way, we’ll see the ABL in the Smithsonian, rather than defending our coasts.


No PMC Immunity
SOFA means that PMC’s are subject to Iraqi laws
JAMES RISEN, writer at NY Times, "End of Immunity Worries U.S. Contractors in Iraq", 11/30/08, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/01/world/middleeast/01contractors.html//avi

WASHINGTON — The thousands of American contractors in Iraq who have been above Iraqi law since the war began are suddenly facing a new era in which their United States passports will no longer protect them from arrest and imprisonment.

When the Iraqi government ratified an agreement last week setting new terms for a continued American presence in Iraq, private contractors working for the Pentagon faced the inevitability that they would be stripped of their immunity from Iraqi law. That immunity had been granted by the Coalition Provisional Authority before a postwar Iraqi government was established. Now that the contractors’ legal protection is to lapse, officials in the defense contracting industry are trying to come to grips with how their operations will change in Iraq, how many of their American employees will be sent home, and whether the weak and often corrupt Iraqi judicial system will become an impediment to recruiting Western workers. If it is approved by Iraq’s Presidency Council, as expected, the agreement will go into effect on Jan. 1. So far, no major company working in Iraq has announced plans to withdraw from the country. Some industry experts said that while the corporations would stay, they would be forced to rely much more on Iraqi employees, rather than on Americans and other foreigners who might fear working without legal protection.
ABL system solves nuke war by preventing missiles from ever reaching their destinations

Reuters 2007- (, Laser plane can fry a foe's missile, http://www.theage.com.au/news/technology/laser-plane-can-fry-a-foes-missile/2007/06/22/1182019343286.html?page=fullpage#)
"Peace Through Light." That's the slogan of a Boeing jumbo jet built to zap ballistic missiles shortly after they lift off, using laser rayguns. US decisionmakers were invited on Thursday to inspect the bottle-nosed, silver-gray, modified 747 freighter on its first trip to the Washington area - a 24-hour lightning tour that backers hope will help restore big budget cuts. The Airborne Laser, or ABL as the $US3.8 billion program is known, has shaped up as one of the biggest losers so far as U.S. President George W. Bush's fiscal 2008 defense spending plan is reworked by Congress. Boeing, the prime contractor, has said a House of Representatives vote to slash $US250 million from Bush's $US549 million budget request would set the project back as much as three years. The Senate Armed Services Committee, for its part, opted last month to cut $US200 million. It would fully fund more technologically mature anti-missile systems such as the ground-based Patriot PAC-3 and ship-board Aegis ballistic missile defense. "We're optimistic" that some of these cuts will be restored as the budget process continues, said Air Force Col. John Daniels, the Pentagon's ABL program manager. The aircraft is to pack six laser modules, each the size of a sports utility van, to generate a basketball-sized beam capable of frying a foe's missile during its highly vulnerable "boost phase," when its engine is still running. A hydrogen peroxide mix fuels the lasers. The works are to be fitted on the prototype aircraft - the one showcased at Andrews Air Force Base in the Maryland suburbs of the U.S. capital on Thursday - starting this summer ahead of a crucial demonstration now scheduled for mid-2009 using a mock enemy ballistic missile. But if the current level of budget cuts becomes law, the shootdown attempt would have to be delayed at least two years, Daniels told reporters at a briefing in an Air Force hangar. The aircraft is being developed as part of an emerging U.S. shield against missiles that could be fired by countries like North Korea and Iran, tipped with chemical, germ or nuclear warheads. Under an Air Force "concept of operations" approved this year, the military hopes to acquire eight more modified 747-400 freighters for the ABL mission. The first of these would be a "bridge" to seven production models, averaging $US1.5 billion apiece, Daniels said. Capt. Tim O'Grady of the Directed Energy Division of the Langley, Virginia-based Air Combat Command said a squadron of seven ABLs could provide 24-hour coverage of one or more suspected missile-launch sites outside the range of surface-to-air missiles. Supported by fighter aircraft and refueled in flight, ABLs based in the United States but within 24-hour range of anywhere in the world could be positioned to zap a launching missile from hundreds of kilometers away, at the speed of light, he said. Aboard the aircraft, contractors sported flight patches on olive drab overalls proclaiming "Peace Through Light" and "Get 'em While They're Hot" - a reference to shooting down targets while they are rising from the launch pad. "This is truly a revolutionary system," Daniels told Reuters in a brief interview, saying it would "fundamentally change the physics of war." "Using light to destroy things is a different way of doing business for the nation," he said. Boeing won the ABL prime contract in 1996. Northrop Grumman is building the high-energy laser. Lockheed Martin Corp. provides the aircraft's beam control and fire control systems. In the hangar, Richard Lehner, a spokesman for the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, and Greg Hyslop, Boeing's ABL project manager, were asked whether they could imagine Boeing's European arch-rival Airbus, a unit of EADS, competing to build the projected U.S. ABL squadron. Both laughed somewhat nervously at the suggestion of a new front opening in the bitter transatlantic battle currently pitting Boeing against Airbus, teamed with Northrop, to supply an initial 179 aerial refueling tankers to the U.S. Air Force - with victory potentially worth $US40 billion. Neither spelled out whether he could imagine a competition between Boeing and Airbus to supply future ABL platforms. Flight and ground testing of the ABL aircraft is done at Edwards Air Force Base, California, to which the aircraft was to return Thursday night, the Missile Defence Agency said.

Nuclear deterrence key to preventing global war – preserves US leadership

Millot 1994, President, New Education Economy, (Marc Dean, “Facing the Emerging Reality of Regional Nuclear Adversaries”, Washington Quarterly, Vol. 17, No. 3; Pg. 41)

The outcome of this refusal to face the emerging reality of regional nuclear adversaries is that the United States is not preparing seriously for the possibility of having to fight in a regional nuclear war. If it continues down this path, it will be unable to cope with the potential threat of nuclear aggression against its allies. If it cannot assure the security of its allies against this threat, the result is likely to be further proliferation among these allies, highly unstable regional military situations, a severe reduction of the United States' international influence, and a growing probability of regional nuclear wars involving U.S. forces. Proliferation by regional allies of the United States is not inevitable. If it first recognizes that the threat of regional nuclear war threatens its own survival in ways no less meaningful than the threat presented to its allies by the Soviets and then convinces its allies that it understands this fact, the United States can dissuade them from deciding to follow their regional adversaries down the nuclear path. If the United States takes these steps, it has some hope of steering its way safely through the uncertain times ahead. U.S. policy should embrace Aspin's analysis of the proliferation problem. It should proceed from the assumption that the United States will face several regional nuclear adversaries in the next decade, emphasize the need to reassure regional allies that the best counter to this threat lies in collective defense arrangements with the United States, and give regional nuclear conflict high priority in U.S. military planning. This approach would reduce the prospect of proliferation by regional allies of the United States, improve regional military stability, maintain U.S. influence, and reduce the chances of U.S. military forces being dragged into a regional nuclear conflict. Turning Aspin's words into action requires a serious effort on the part of Secretary Perry, and even his efforts will be effective only if President Clinton changes national policy.

Technology is key to a superior military and heg

Khalilzad 1995, Defense Analyst at RAND, (Zalmay, “Losing the Moment? The United States and the World After the Cold War” The Washington Quarterly, RETHINKING GRAND STRATEGY; Vol. 18, No. 2; Pg. 84)

U.S. superiority in new weapons and their use would be critical. U.S. planners should therefore give higher priority to research on new technologies, new concepts of operation, and changes in organization, with the aim of U.S. dominance in the military technical revolution that may be emerging. They should also focus on how to project U.S. systems and interests against weapons based on new technologies. The Persian Gulf War gave a glimpse of the likely future. The character of warfare will change because of advances in military technology, where the United States has the lead, and in corresponding concepts of operation and organizational structure. The challenge is to sustain this lead in the face of the complacency that the current U.S. lead in military power is likely to engender. Those who are seeking to be rivals to the United States are likely to be very motivated to explore new technologies and how to use them against it. A determined nation making the right choices, even though it possessed a much smaller economy, could pose an enormous challenge by exploiting breakthroughs that made more traditional U.S. military methods less effective by comparison. For example, Germany, by making the right technical choices and adopting innovative concepts for their use in the 1920s and 1930s, was able to make a serious bid for world domination. At the same time, Japan, with a relatively small GNP compared to the other major powers, especially the United States, was at the forefront of the development of naval aviation and aircraft carriers. These examples indicate that a major innovation in warfare provides ambitious powers an opportunity to become dominant or near-dominant powers. U.S. domination of the emerging military-technical revolution, combined with the maintenance of a force of adequate size, can help to discourage the rise of a rival power by making potential rivals believe that catching up with the United States is a hopeless proposition and that if they try they will suffer the same fate as the former Soviet Union.

And we could even develop machine gun turret lasers!

Maj Gen David Scott, USAF and Col David Robie, USAF 2009 (“Directed Energy A Look to the Future” Air and Space Power Journal. Winter 2009)
Consider how this capability will affect future engagements. The current program will allow us to negate short, medium, and intercontinental ballistic missiles, thus sig- nificantly improving force protection, en- abling us to operate from closer bases, and enhancing the positioning of naval forces. Future developmental spirals will give the ABL more laser power and better range. Combining these enhancements with relay mirrors may enable very-long-range, over- the-horizon engagement of enemy aircraft or cruise missiles.2 We can even envision a number of ancillary missions for the ABL, perhaps including one for defensive counterair. These capabilities are not just dreams. The ABL has ground-tested the la- ser and demonstrated the tracking system on surrogate targets. It remains on schedule for live fire this calendar year. Another possible airborne application of high-energy lasers, the ATL program began in 2001 as an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) sponsored by Spe- cial Operations Command; it subsequently transferred to the Air Force in 2008. The ATL has demonstrated the optics and track- ing system in low-power flight tests, fired the high-energy laser on the ground, and (at the time of this writing) conducted two high-energy flight tests and target engage- ments. As noted in a recent Scientific Advi- sory Board study, the ATL will be able to engage targets at the speed of light with un- precedented precision and very little or no collateral damage.3 The current ATL incor- porates a COIL into a C-130, filling the cargo space of the test aircraft because of the laser’s very large size. However, when high-energy, solid-state lasers mature, one of these smaller, lighter-weight devices will fit within one of the three weapons stations in an AC-130. The combination of the laser’s precision and the kinetics of the aircraft’s 105 mm howitzers will give Air Force Spe- cial Operations Command a formidable force-application capability.

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