Aspiring senator John Raese has said some strange things, but it’s hard to top “We need 1,000 laser systems put in the sky and we need it right now. That is [of] paramount importance.” Raese is so worried about nuclear attack, you see, he would like to deploy “right now” a technology that probably won’t be workable for at least 20 years.
Laser-based technology has been long discussed as a promising method for deterring missiles, but experts say that components of a system like the one Raese described are in the infant stages of research and development and would require the negotiation of staggeringly complex international treaties.
Riki Ellison, the chairman of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, said that Raese appeared to be referring to DPALs (diode pumped alkali lasers), which have shown great promise in the field of missile defense but - at least at current funding levels for the development of such programs - could take two decades to develop. He said that the development of DPAL technology would be accelerated by Raese’s proposed budget infusion (the Obama administration recently reduced funding for the Missile Defense Agency). But, he added, deploying that technology in space would require the negotiation of a treaty among world powers.