Bush Team's First Test of Defense Missile Set

From Times Wire Reports

The Defense Department said it would try to intercept a long-range ballistic missile July 14, the first systemwide test by the Bush administration of a controversial multibillion-dollar missile defense plan.

The "integrated system" test is often equated by the military to hitting a bullet with a bullet. The last two of the three tests to date have failed, most recently July 7, 2000.

Those misses led former President Clinton on Sept. 1 to defer the politically charged decision on when to take the first steps toward going beyond testing to start deploying a missile defense.

Russia, China and many U.S. allies strongly oppose U.S. plans to field such a shield for fear it would trigger an arms race.

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