Is Obama to Blame for Recent Missile Failures?

On July 5, the Pentagon's ground-based midcourse defense program, or GMD, failed to intercept a ballistic missile fired from the Marshall Islands. Although the launch was only a test, the July 5 failure was the latest in a string of failures since successful runs in 2008. Now, some lawmakers are blaming that failure on President Obama and his administration, because of their decision to "drastically cut funding for the GMD program," leaving it on "life support."

But is this critique fair? More importantly, is this latest failure actually good news for defense contractors?

Source: U.S. Navy, via Wikimedia Commons. 

A world without nukes
In 2009, among other cuts to defense, President Obama cut $1.4 billion from the Missile Defense Agency's budget, scaled back the MDA and Boeing's (NYSE: BA  ) Airborne Laser program, reduced interception and flight tests, and cut ground-based interceptor deployment down to 30. These cuts were in line with his campaign promise to cut back on missile defense spending and bring the United States closer to the goal of a "world without nuclear weapons." 

The goal of having a world without nukes is admirable, and one that many people agree with, considering how destructive the arms race can be. But the reality is that countries such as Iran and North Korea aren't interested in disarmament, regardless of what the U.S. does, and are in fact actively pursuing their own nuclear agendas.

That fact became abundantly clear last December, following North Korea's missile tests. Accordingly, Obama reversed his previous decision on missile defense cuts and reinstated missile defense initiatives, although he didn't reverse his view regarding nuclear disarmament.  

An unfair critique?
According to Pentagon officials, four years ago, North Korea's capabilities were considerably less advanced. Thus, when Obama made the decision in favor of missile disarmament, the U.S. wasn't facing the same type of threats it is today. 

So are Obama and his administration responsible for recent missile failures? Yes and no. Yes, the funding to test and maintain the GMD was cut to such a degree that there have been only three attempted intercept tests and two flight tests conducted since successful 2008 test. But the threats to the U.S. weren't what they are now, the push for disarmament was driven by a desire for world disarmament and to slow the arms race, and there was a need to cut spending.  

More pointedly, thanks to North Korea and Iran, Obama has reversed his previous push for missile disarmament and is increasing ground-based interceptors to 44. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that the U.S. will be shifting "resources" to boost funding to Lockheed Martin's (NYSE: LMT  ) Aegis Missile defense system. 

Plus, following the unsuccessful missile test, it's become clear that more needs to be done to make sure that the U.S. has effective ballistics missile interceptors. That's great news for defense contractors. Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC  ) , for one, is the prime contractor on the Missile Defense Agency's Joint National Integration Center, a simulating and war-gaming center that provides answers for America's missile defense capabilities. Boeing makes ground-based interceptors. And Raytheon (NYSE: RTN  ) builds the SM-3, a defense weapon used to destroy incoming ballistic missiles.  

What about spending cuts?
Sequestration and spending cuts are a reality thanks to the inability of lawmakers on both sides to figure out a viable budget solution. However, thanks to continuing threats from abroad, and the recent missile failure, it seems highly likely that lawmakers will find a way to fund further MDA initiatives. In fact, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., is downright bullish on missile defense. "I don't think we need to put the brakes on anything," he says. "We need a missile defense system. Rogue actors, from North Korea to Iran, are developing missiles. We need to improve our missile technology." 

Hindsight is 20/20
While some may disagree with the push toward disarmament, while others still fully support it, it's become clear to the Obama administration, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, that the need to improve the United States' missile defense capabilities isn't going away -- it's increasing. How this will play out over the next few months is uncertain, but it's likely that this revelation will help defense contractors that specialize in this area.

Boeing is one of the largest defense contractors in the world. Further, it builds ground-based interceptors, which are becoming more and more necessary thanks to countries such as North Korea and Iran. But there are some things to consider before you invest. A recent Motley Fool report, "3 Strong Buys for a Global Economic Recovery," outlines three companies, including Boeing, that could take off when the global economy gains steam. Click here to read the full report!

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  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 9:25 AM, stever7golf wrote:

    sounds like FOX news is controlling Motley headers.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 9:29 AM, vet212 wrote:

    Yes he is, as commander in chief of US armed forces he bears the ultimate responcibility for all successes AND failures within the millitary

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 9:33 AM, KMAAMK wrote:

    Program has been a money sink since Reagan proposed it and the complications of the program suggest our technology isn't there after 30 years and super computers so blaming Obama. Heck I blame congress for funding this boondoggle. We are better off being attacked and have sympathy verses bankrupt the country but vowing to declare war, dow what we must to subvert and not finish until we receive an unconditional surrender. Look at Japan and Germany after an unconditional surrender. Look at North Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan for what a policing action will do. (Vietnam appears to have turned out ok once other countries stopped meddling with policing actions)!

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 9:45 AM, neognome wrote:

    Half of these projects are designed to steal money from the tax payer.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 9:48 AM, couplafish wrote:

    Yes, of course he is, He is to blame for everything bad in the United States of America. Heck lets blame him for the whole world. I for one think president Obama is doing an outstanding job. Everyone that cuts him down in under the misconception that he has complete control. He can't do anything without the approval of all the other poloticians that are voting for or against whatever decision has to be passed or declined. I really wish people would stop judging the president because he is mixed race. I am not black but I am American so that makes me mixed race. No one in our country can say they are 100% Native american . Stand proud of our contry and lets defend it and while we may disagree with our president do we have to be nasty about it?

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 10:09 AM, sirbialik wrote:

    U know, if everyone wants to blame Obama for this, they might as well think that all he does in the White house is sit there, pick a pile of work to work on, make a decision n low n behold, Obama just pissed u off - again!

    Does anyone out there know how our government is suppose to work anymore? He just cant make a decision and tell everyone around him, "I HAVE SPOKEN".

    Sometimes the media is like so ridiculous! Why cant they just inform professionally, express, if there is room, their view point, n let it go.

    If only the world was perfect.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 10:13 AM, Pudubny123 wrote:


    What about the pork barrel package to build up to 300 more M1A1 Abrams tanks this year. Even the army, who has hundreds in reserve said they don't need them, but it passed as part of a pork barrel package to increase jobs in key states. If we took that money and actually used it properly, we could have all the missile defense we wanted but individual interests drive the broken Washington system. Look it up, we will spend billions on tanks we don't need this year but nobody cares.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 10:18 AM, ALiterateFool wrote:

    He will find a way to blame one of the more responsible Presidents, Bush.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 10:28 AM, thiscantbetrue wrote:


    Your first mistake was in throwing that tired, old, worn out race card. People are sick to death of it and people like YOU are the reason no one pays attention to whatever race problems actually DO exist in this nation today. Because people like YOU throw that card so much,the word, "racist" means nothing anymore. Your little rant about how we're all mixed race was sophomoric at best.

    Then there's your belief that the president can't do anything without the approval of all the other politicians. There's something called, I believe, an EXECUTIVE DECISION. I may be wrong on the name but I'm right on what I'm about to tell you.

    This is an action whereby the sitting president CAN indeed call the shot without approval of ANYONE. The most any president in the history of this nation has used that priveledge is 8 or 9...until Hussein Obama...he has used that priveledge over 100 times, thereby setting himself up as a defacto dictator.

    So, dear....sit down, shut up and read. Learn. Then come back and tell us what you learned, not what you dreamed up while you ate your Fruit Loops. Your comments were childish.

    Not every one is mixed race in this nation...that was a really stupid comment. Most of our ANCESTORS were from different nations, and therefore, of different NATIONALITIES...but not different races. What a goofball!! lol Race and nationalaity are two VERY different things and if people like YOU are voting, it's no wonder this nation is in so much trouble.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 10:33 AM, bcelectro wrote:

    The President bears the responsibility for the successes and failures of the nation during his/her term. Obama has enjoyed the protection from the media due to his ethnicity and political bent. Liberals have used patronizing racism as a tool for over 50 years. To liberals, any criticism of Obama is viewed as racism and they use the compliant media to further that idea. In order to 'protect' Obama from American scorn, they employ racism in it's most insideous form. They patronize African-Americans and view them as unable to help themselves based on their ethnicity so it is up to liberals to 'free them from their bonds'. Unfortunately, all too many African-Americans fall for this divisiveness.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 10:35 AM, spydercoendura wrote:

    Is Obama to Blame for Recent Missile Failures?

    Is this supposed to be a JOKE???

    As if anyone in the propaganda media would place blame for ANYTHING on der fuhrer.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 10:42 AM, bdub3296 wrote:

    The truth of the matter is all of our elected representatives are ultimately responsible for these GMD issues due to cutbacks in funding and extremely limited availability of parts, (again, due to funding). The Aegis Weapon System is a successfully tested and used system, consisitantly proven to be the world's most technologically advanced and accurate defense system. More funding for Aegis is a great idea. Consequently, an already overworked and exhausted military has suffered cutbacks in several different areas, increasing their maintenance time, operating time, along with all other obligations which are exremely unique, due to the mere reason the military exists. Somehow, these guys manage to figure out how to keep things functioning with less people, less money, and less resources, only to find out that more cuts are coming. As a retired military veteran of 25 years and a professional that worked in that particular industry, I give complete props to the guys on the ground, working the long hours and using significant ingenuity to ensure we're all safe. I also ask that our politicians give these guys some support to ensure that all of our programs get the attention they so desperately need.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 10:43 AM, HgldrFool wrote:

    As an engineer working on defense programs, it is important to let everyone know that design of these missiles happened MANY YEARS AGO, not when Obama was president.

    When I see comments such as, "yeah. He's the EFFIN president", it is clear that only angry vulgar people blame Obama for things that either congress or, a president long before him has done.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 10:44 AM, 0rly wrote:

    Who's to blame for ACU and the great body armor/DCU NBC equipment shortage of OIF?

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 10:45 AM, Jaspure wrote:

    His watch; his problem just as all the rest are. He will attempt to blame Bush but it is HIS fault.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 10:49 AM, Kurtism123 wrote:

    The photo in the article is a Standard Missile (SM-3) part of the Navy Aegis program and not a Ground Based Interceptor (GBI). SM-3 and Patriot are both very successful and GBI is still new and requires additional testing. This will all happen in due time.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 10:55 AM, bparno wrote:

    Mass murder, violence, perversion, this is what mankind has wrought on the face of this earth. Now the Lord of all creation, who sent each and every one of you into this world to live in peace and harmony is making ready your very end for this is what He, your creator has shown me, Waves fifty thousand feet high washing over every inch of this world. Nothing was left, no land, no life anywhere, for all was washed away into oblivion.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 10:56 AM, slanciano wrote:

    Say YohVO to our idiot & chief in charge at 1600 Penn Ave. He should be in the true penn for 16-20 !!

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:02 AM, wildkippy wrote:

    Pudumny123. I'm glad someone brought that insane idiot to the picture. I thought I was dreaming cause no one was commenting on this senator demanding that Defense keep spitting out these Abrahms tanks from his state. this kind of 'leadership' is but one big reason why the US is being pillaged of its' money. this is the most corrupt, inept and greedy swindle I've ever heard coming from our own country. And the worst thing, our ever- uninformed and dumb-ass prez passed the bill! And with all his advisors at his beckon, this is the advise they gave him? That tells me his whole administration is totally stupid. You don't fire the guy who did the deed, you fire the guy who vouched for him. In this case it's the American voters. Now we gots to eat his mistakes.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:05 AM, easywithit wrote:

    I know the posters of this article and they are all credible professionals, but truth is, there is no way to stop most of the missles coming in --in a nuclear attack on the USA.

    With a smaller country, like Israel, all those anti-missle batteries do have a 'blocking effet', but when you have huge distances in borders like we have, plus large areas for nuclear submarines, then we won't be able to stop most missles.

    Missle defense in America is still a myth; I say 'still a myth', because a few years ago, I participated in a missle defense excercize, and actually, I hand-carried the messages from STRATCOm to ADCOM, and yes, I read them, and the result was that we were wiped-out, completely.

    This is a little known hidden secret from the American people, primarily for political reasons.

    There is no defense for America with regard to an all-out neclear attack. That is why, at that time, Reagan proposed 'mutual distruction' as a deterrent. There was no other option, and if a new cold war emerges,, then we will see that same strategy again. Hi Peter, Elena, et all.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:05 AM, MikeyP12 wrote:

    Maybe hindsight is 20/20-- but anyone with a brain could've told you that those same threats existed back when the program was being gutted. Any competent leader would have understood that.

    This level of naiveté is indefensible. It seems like under this administration, everything is billed as a "national security issue" except for actual national security.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:13 AM, harry2311 wrote:

    I am an advocate of missile defense having worked on such projects prior to retirement. However, the increase in it's funding has very little to do with any increased threat from North Korea or Iran. It is part of a deal struck between the defense industry and Obama administration just prior to the 2nd term election.

    Defense funding had been cut heavily in Obama's first term. No surprise there. All government programs were cut thanks to the economy Obama inherited from the Bush administration.

    Just prior to Obama's 2nd term election, Lockheed Martin threatened to send out 150,000 "warn notices (possible future layoffs)" to employees. Obama promised to increase defense funding rather than risk the publicity at election time.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:16 AM, divster wrote:

    He is responsible at my house.Gasoline is expensive.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:25 AM, MITGrad wrote:

    Obama is to blame for almost anything. Why did Anderson Silva lose last week because it was Obama's fault. The San Antonio Spurs lost because of Obama. My cat ran away 2 days ago and I blame Obama. My wife slept with the neighbor and I blame Obama. The Russians hate us and I blame Obama.

    I tripped and fell down the other day and guess who was to blame. Yes is was Obama. All of these things happened on his watch.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:37 AM, krovane wrote:

    And why do we have billions of dollars for aid in Africa when our ground-based midcourse defense program does not have money for maintenance, etc.,?

    Here is a thought: IMPEACH OBAMA! His priorities stink.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:39 AM, Trat68 wrote:

    It's funny the President made the wrong choice like so many times, now we have to play catch up. For years we know we needed to have this system, but the Dem were out of touch with the real world. I hope we don't pay for this. The Dem are still blimimg Bush. This country has gone to h--- sence this party took over.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 12:27 PM, jfelano wrote:

    It's amazing how many stupid people are on this forum. It's Obama's fault that there was a battery failure? LOL

    I know you pathetic Republican's are still disgruntled you lost the election, but seriously you need to get lives.

    You can't blame Obama for everything. You CAN blame Bush for everything. We wouldn't wouldn't have to make drastic cuts in spending if he hadn't gone to war with 2 countries that never even attacked us on a Chinese credit card.

    Remember, we had a budget SURPLUS when Bush came into office.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 12:33 PM, bcelectro wrote:

    @Mitgrad---that's a pretty juvenile attempt at parity. The nation's business is Obama's responsibility. It's in the constitution Obama ignores. Your day to day battle with life is your responsibility (and your neighbor's, apparently;~}), but nice try!

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 12:36 PM, lilyjazz wrote:

    We can and will blame Obummer for EVERYTHING!!! After all, he is the idiot in charge. And no he does not need any one to give him permission to do anything, not even his wife. Goes to show, he is a dictator, and we are his pawns. We are turning into a 3rd world country

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 12:36 PM, lwazny wrote:

    Gee, You don't think Sequestration has more to do with this? Got to cut somewhere and Defense needs to be cut 50% more if only to keep the NeoCons from thinking we can meddle wherever their Corporate handlers have money interests. This is a boondoggle and is a similar vein to Reagan's idea to reactivate 70 year old Battleships.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 12:48 PM, typingfast wrote:

    FOX News is just like cancer. It is spreading to every news organization in the US. They are a one sided, ultra conservative news that presents the news as only they would have you believe is correct. When I went to school, which was a long, long time ago, we were taught that a newspaper, or news organization, was suppose to present the news in an unbiased way. It was up to the reader to decide what they are to believe. Now, it is up to the paper or other news organization to tell you what to believe. Sounds like a communist country to me now. Brain washing the public. Does Russia, China and North Korea come to mind when you read these articles about news reporting.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 1:17 PM, mtone12 wrote:

    Yes it is his fault. He personally assembles and programs the missiles he should do a better job at paying attention to his missile building and stop trying to prevent this country from destroying itself.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 1:20 PM, Dittzy wrote:

    Who is this Obama guy again? Is he the guy that's hiding in the airport in Russia trying to get political asylum?

    If the system works it should be funded and operational, if it doesn't it should be cut as a money pit and dropped completely. Doing anything halfway usually ends in a complete waste of time and money.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 2:37 PM, lovemypets wrote:

    So now Obama is being blamed for not being able to predict the future?

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 3:20 PM, Gowithit wrote:

    The silly things dumb people ask but never think about. Yeah, it's Obamas fault out our defense industry is robbing us blind and people like you shill for them. Why would a 1.3 billion dollar cut make an already developed missile stop working? How could 2 countries that spend 1 dollar for every 10,000 we spend find a way to outsmart our defense because we might cut it to 1 for 9,999? Why is it that we spend more than the next 8 countries combined and have for over 45 years, yet somehow we aren't so far ahead, that cutting it back for 10 years (while still spending more) would suddenly debilitate us? Each year isn't individual, all the previous spending must have got us something lasting, right? The defense industry is the biggest welfare scam going and I can pretty much assure you the failure was do to holding us hostage to give them more money. But nice headline.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 3:25 PM, Gowithit wrote:

    Fool now blocking intelligent, rational, non political, fact based analysis. F you

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 3:28 PM, Ibbw wrote:

    Obama makes missiles too? Amazing!

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 3:29 PM, CitizenMe wrote:

    Make no mistake, if there is ANYTHING AT ALL wrong with the United States Government right now, you can bet your sweet behind that it IS Obama's fault!

    I'm just glad the idiot can't serve another term destroying this country.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 4:36 PM, Roxannesays wrote:

    As Harry Truman so aptly said, "the buck stops here." This Administration has to take responsibility for everything that happens on their watch, just like any Administration before them. The problem is that there are so many people in Government today who haven't the first clue about how to solve problems, much less perceive them.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 5:38 PM, Gowithit wrote:

    As a basic refrain, you should never do business with a Republican, and this just proves it further. The United States government paid a private contractor to create a product, the product failed. So like in the business world, the Republicans blame the customer. What there should be is language in the contracts that forces them to get it right until they ever get another red cent, but Republicans would freak out.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 5:44 PM, shakinsghost wrote:

    I would come closer to saying who ever fired the missile and missed his /her target was to blame, they need better aim.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 6:36 PM, Teako3 wrote:

    At least we know that bozo1235 is a rel bozo.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 10:55 PM, livingtruth wrote:

    Tax the Republicans and Tea Party Members because they love to spend money on the military. In fact, make them pay for the entire military budget.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 11:27 PM, Dadw5boys wrote:

    the Patriot system can't be transferred to these ?

    Oh but no they have to spend Billions to REINVENT THE WHEEL !

  • Report this Comment On July 15, 2013, at 1:39 AM, ak2pou wrote:

    Why is Israel " Iron Drone " successfully shoot down on-coming missiles more than 90% accuracy in low altitude, we can use the same technique in high altitude " interceptor"

  • Report this Comment On July 15, 2013, at 2:34 AM, nbuler12 wrote:

    the president didn't make the intercotors so how can he be the one to have made It fail. I consider tht a racist statement .

  • Report this Comment On July 15, 2013, at 3:40 AM, scootter123 wrote:

    lets face it,not only has our economy suffered under Obama but our military has suffered worse.It seems during the Clinton fiasco that's putting it nicelywe had the same problem with the draw down.When are they going to learn taking money from our military budgets is a big mistake.

  • Report this Comment On July 15, 2013, at 3:44 AM, scootter123 wrote:

    I think any statement that is made right now the blacks will somehow consider it a racial statement

  • Report this Comment On July 16, 2013, at 12:36 AM, prmorales1 wrote:

    The situation with the interceptors must be addressed and fixed. However, this is a chain reaction kind of situation. Israel have been supported militarily by USA and it has nuclear weapons. Iran has been attacked by USA indirectly through its dead ex-ally Saddam Hussein with a war that lasted 10 years, apart from having supported a dictator there, the Shah of Iran. USA, Russia and others have nuclear weapons, so Iran wants to follow the example. Can USA make Iran feel safe from Israel? That could be better than interceptors. NKorean leader will be stopped by Russia or else a drone will be justified on that jerk.

  • Report this Comment On July 21, 2013, at 12:39 AM, espanolajuan wrote:

    Hay ! We must protect ourselves from other countries that want to harm us. What will the cost be in lives and homes, if one of bad countries gets one of these missiles past our defences?

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