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One of the arguments of the Bush administration for the early deployment of a ballistic missile defence system was not only that this would provide some limited defensive capability, but also that it would facilitate 'learning by doing'. In practice, however, this 'capability-based' deployment has failed to facilitate such technological advancement. Instead of enabling the improvement of the technology, early deployment, coupled with a series of flight-test failures, has led to a shift towards less demanding tests. Deployment has actually proved counterproductive because the need for the tests to be successful 'public experiments' has overridden any significant progression to more realistic testing.
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