Missile Angst

By Sebastian Sprenger / February 10, 2009 at 5:00 AM

While Iran's satellite launch last Monday has defense leaders worried, the move is not necessarily a sign that Tehran already has the know-how to build a long-range missile capable of reaching the United States, according to Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.

The leap from satellite program to missile program is "not an automatic," Cartwright told reporters today. "It doesn't happen in a day or two."

"((T))he work that they have done thus far is, at best, rudimentary -- very low orbit, very minimal energy to get up there," Cartwright said. "This is not a long- range missile, but it is the path toward that, so we have to worry about that."