When President Barack Obama first nominated long time missile defense critic Philip Coyle to be associate director for national security and international affairs at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy back in October, we immediately noted that this nomination signaled a major shift in our ballistic missile defense policy.
Now others are also taking note. At The Weekly Standard, John Noonan writes: “If theology has crept into the missile defense debate, Coyle is the high priest of nay saying. There’s an inherent danger in placing ideologues, particularly those in favor of treaties which negotiate away U.S. security, in high level defense posts. … Coyle’s long, steadfast opposition to badly needed defensive systems, and his refusal to bend even when geo-political events dictate, make him a highly dubious candidate for such a critical White House position.”
At National Review Online, Foreign Policy Initiative executive director Jamie Fly adds: “Coyle made a name for himself by questioning whether missile defense is technically possible, contradicting a proven track record of repeated successes by the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency. … Given Iran’s recent tests of missiles with increasing ranges and its successful launch of a satellite into orbit, Mr. Coyle’s questioning of the intentions of rogues such as Iran is incredibly naive.”
President Obama has made his approach towards national security and missile defense very clear: he wants to weaken our defense against long-range ballistic missiles and concentrate on defenses against short- to medium-range missiles. Coyle is exactly the type of personal a President would need to appoint to implement this shift away from comprehensive missile defense.