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A goodbye | Looking back at Nieman Watchdog
COMMENTARY | August 20, 2012
Barry Sussman reflects on the accomplishments of the Nieman Watchdog website, and the challenges to watchdog journalism that remain ahead.

‘Fly before buy’ | Cuts may be coming in the U.S. missile defense program
COMMENTARY | March 31, 2009
President Obama is expected to ask for curtailed spending on the program, writes George C. Wilson, and there’s a good chance that Congress will approve. A new GAO report on U.S. missile defense efforts to date is devastating.

Election 2008 | Ask McCain and Obama about missile defense
ASK THIS | September 10, 2008
Pentagon plans for establishing missile defenses in Europe have caused a serious strain in U.S./Russian relations not seen since the Cold War. Dealing with this controversial project will be the most pressing item on the missile defense agenda for the next U.S. president. And that’s only one problem with the ineffective, costly Star Wars shield.

Looking ahead | Questions for McCain and Obama on Russia and NATO
ASK THIS | September 05, 2008
The plot of the Georgia-Russia-U.S. situation, in which all participants have been overreaching, could have been lifted from the 1959 movie, 'The Mouse that Roared.' Except the movie, a Cold War satire, was funny and the real-world situation is a very serious mess.

Worst U.S. nuclear weapons breakdown ever? | A B-52 with six armed nuclear missiles flew over the U.S. for 3-1/2 hours. What’s the story here?
ASK THIS | September 09, 2007
Defense expert Philip Coyle wants to know why these weapons were being moved in the first place, why they were sent to Barksdale Air Force Base, how long it was before the error was discovered and how many other such errors have there been. He points out that except in all-out nuclear war, nuclear weapons are supposed to be transported as cargo in special, secure aircraft or in trucks—not in operational aircraft.

A Star Wars enigma | What exactly is the latest missile defense argument about?
ASK THIS | July 18, 2007
The U.S., unable to develop a dependable anti-missile system at home, seems determined to put a new one in Eastern Europe regardless of whether it will work or if there’s any real need for one or how much ill-will it causes. Why?

If it doesn't work here, why would it work there? | A game of European missile shield 'Let's Pretend'
ASK THIS | June 08, 2007
One result of Putin’s proposals for an installation in Azerbaijan – whether workable or not – may be to derail Bush’s plans until he leaves office.

Who's provoking whom? | The Chinese satellite destruction: What's next?
ASK THIS | February 09, 2007
The militarization of space has already happened but weaponization of space hasn't. Pentagon planners have long talked of dominating space; did the Chinese play into their hands?

No decoys this time | What about the most recent missile defense test?
COMMENTARY | September 11, 2006
Labeled a ‘total success’ by the Pentagon general in charge, the Sept. 1 flight intercept was a real accomplishment. But it was the simplest test in the 10-year history of the program and did not reflect a real-world situation. Expert Phil Coyle says it is up to the press to explain this complicated, confusing story.

Fact-checking the president | Our missile defense system is seen as an expensive bluff
COMMENTARY | July 12, 2006
Which is Bush’s position: A)Our missile defense system can now defend the U.S., or B)It’s too new to predict success, or C)It has a reasonable chance of knocking out anything North Korea shoots at us? If you chose all three you would be correct; those are the answers Bush gave on July 6 and 7. And if you said the system flat out doesn’t work, you’d also be correct.

And the cost is going up | Missile defense costs $10 billion a year. What do we get for that?
ASK THIS | January 24, 2006
Expert Philip Coyle notes that successes have been only under artificial circumstances and that in the two most recent tests interceptors didn’t even get off the ground; he urges Congress and the press to question the system.

Philip E. Coyle III is a Senior Advisor to the President of the Center for Defense Information and an independent defense consultant. He is a recognized expert on U.S. and worldwide military research, development and testing, on operational military matters, and on national security policy and defense spending.