Richard Garwin and Rumsfeld Commission

In this 2004 interview, with Dan Ford from the American Institute of Physics, Wolfgang Panofsky discusses Richard Garwin and his stint with the Rumsfeld Commission:

I think the instance often mentioned, you know, he was a member of the famous Rumsfeld Commission, which was charged with assessing the threat to the United States of ballistic missiles. But to most observers, was simply a… had a not so hidden agenda of justifying ballistic missile defense. Now Garwin basically did an honest job on that committee of basically assessing the North Korean threat and in turn, the fact that he who is usually more identified with the arms control side of things and who was usually very much identified with the loyal opposition to ballistic missile defense, nevertheless found that his concurrence with the findings of the Rumsfeld Commission and the subsequent use of that report to justify BMD.

That is often cited as to some extent being a symptom of naivety on his part on being oblivious to the political implications of his activities while doing an absolutely straightforward honest job on the technological parts of the thing. I mean, that’s one example where he basically proceeded to analyze the explicit task given to that Commission but… And since that Commission was not asked to recommend specific remedies to the ballistic missile threat, but only to analyze the ballistic missile threat, he kept to that. But in fact, the not so hidden agenda of that Commission was to justify BMD, so that’s essensially an instance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.