Public Release: 

Vulnerability of nuclear warhead interception topic of UH lecture

MIT's Theodore A. Postol analyzes US national missile defense system, decoy countermeasures

University of Houston

HOUSTON, April 7, 2006 - Theodore A. Postol, an outspoken technically-trained, independent arms control analyst, will be addressing "The Science and Technology of the U.S. National Missile Defense System" at a physics department colloquium at the University of Houston 4 p.m., Tuesday, April 11 in room 116 of the Science & Research One Building.

Hosted by UH Physics Professor Simon C. Moss, Postol's lecture is free and open to the public and will be of a general nature, accessible to students in both the humanities and sciences. Speaking to the formation of national policy, the lecture will be of interest to faculty and students in a wide array of disciplines including law, philosophy, economics, political science, sociology, history and English, as well as physics. It also is expected to draw the attention of interested members of the outside community.

According to Postol, the design that is currently being developed by the U.S. National Missile Defense System to intercept nuclear warheads at high altitudes in the near vacuum of space is vulnerable to simple decoy countermeasures. He will talk about targets and decoys in two early missile defense experiments that reveal relatively simple infrared decoys could not be discriminated from warheads, contradicting the methods under development by the U.S. National Missile Defense System.

Postol plans to describe how the U.S. National Missile Defense System is supposed to work and claims test results from the program have been misrepresented to make it appear that the system could function. He asserts the entire test program was altered to hide the fact that the defense system cannot function against the simplest of decoys.

Now a professor of science, technology and national security policy in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Postol has a background that includes time at Argonne National Laboratory, the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Pentagon, where he worked as a scientific adviser to the Chief of Naval Operations. After leaving the Pentagon, he helped build a program at Stanford University to train mid-career scientists to study developments in weapons technology of relevance to defense and arms control policy.

Presenting informed opinions to the international security and arms control community, Postol has won numerous awards for technical analysis of national security issues vital to the debate over public policy, as well as for scientific and technical contributions advancing the understanding of issues related to arms control and international security. In 1995, the American Association for the Advancement of Science identified him as "a key player in educating a whole generation of independent arms control policy analysts." In 2001, he received the Nobert Wiener Award from Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility for uncovering numerous false claims about missile defenses.

Theodore A. Postol
MIT Professor of Science, Technology and National Security Policy
Independent Arms Control Analyst

"The Science and Technology of the U.S. National Missile Defense System"

4 p.m., Tuesday, April 11

University of Houston
Science & Research One Building, Room 116
Entrance 14 off Cullen Boulevard


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