Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Maybe 10,000 missing MANPADs. Yow!

That’s a lot of man-portable surface to air missiles to have floating around the Middle East even during a quiet time. Which this is not. Here’s the backstory, given by James Clapper, the director of national intelligence,  last Thursday to the Senate Armed Services Committee: "Well, the principal area of concern, of course, are the ...

Wikimedia
Wikimedia
Wikimedia

That's a lot of man-portable surface to air missiles to have floating around the Middle East even during a quiet time. Which this is not.

Here's the backstory, given by James Clapper, the director of national intelligence,  last Thursday to the Senate Armed Services Committee:

"Well, the principal area of concern, of course, are the so-call MANPADS or shoulder-fired weapons -- anti-aircraft weapons.  And the estimate was going into the upheavals there of about 20,000 MANPADS.  In fact, Libya had more MANPADS than any non- producing country in the world.

That’s a lot of man-portable surface to air missiles to have floating around the Middle East even during a quiet time. Which this is not.

Here’s the backstory, given by James Clapper, the director of national intelligence,  last Thursday to the Senate Armed Services Committee:

"Well, the principal area of concern, of course, are the so-call MANPADS or shoulder-fired weapons — anti-aircraft weapons.  And the estimate was going into the upheavals there of about 20,000 MANPADS.  In fact, Libya had more MANPADS than any non- producing country in the world.

There’s been an active and aggressive program run by the State Department to recover MANPADS.  And they’ve, through that program, we estimate recovered about a quarter of them — about 5,000 MANPADS.

…There are many others that we are certain…we are certain were destroyed by virtue of the fact they were in ammo depots and bunkers and this sort of thing that were destroyed during the either contest between the opposition and the regime, or NATO air strikes. That said, there’s a large number that are unlocated and will be very problematic in recovering since they have them all over the place. 

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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