The editorial misses several key points. First, the United States should not build a missile to fit an arms control goal. This is a political missile with no useful military purpose. The perceived goal not to represent a first-strike threat is nonsense since any ballistic missile represents a direct threat to the Soviets.
Second, the Midgetman missile is too expensive ($35 billion to $40 billion) to develop and deploy for the number of missiles proposed, 500.
Third, this missile may not be able to carry a large enough warhead for hard targets in the late 1990s.
Fourth, it carries only one warhead and may not carry any decoys because of weight restrictions.
Fifth, the cost of Midgetman is so high we may not even buy 300. The real need is more like 1,500.
When losses are considered from a direct strike, malfunctioning missiles and the Russian defense system, 300 or even 500 missiles would not be enough to serve as an effective deterrent.