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The Missile Defense Systems

of George W. Bush

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The Missile Defense

Systems of
George W. Bush
A Critical Assessment


Copyright 2010 by Richard Dean Burns

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means,
electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, except for
the inclusion of brief quotations in a review, without prior permission
in writing from the publisher.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Burns, Richard Dean.
The missile defense systems of George W. Bush : a critical assessment /
Richard Dean Burns.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-313-38466-0 (hard copy : alk. paper) ISBN 978-0-313-38467-7
(ebook) 1. Ballistic missile defensesUnited States. 2. Ballistic missile
defensesUnited StatesHistory. 3. Bush, George W. (George Walker),
1946 4. United StatesPolitics and government20012009. 5. United
StatesMilitary policy. 6. World politics1989 I. Title.
UG743.B86 2010
ISBN: 978-0-313-38466-0
EISBN: 978-0-313-38467-7





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Missile Defense to ABM Diplomacy:

From Eisenhower to Nixon


The Strategic Defense Initiative: From Reagan

to G.H.W. Bush


Politics of Missile Defense Deployment:

From William Clinton to George W. Bush


Missile Defense in Europe: Bush to Obama


North Korean and Iranian Missile Programs:

Their Regional Impact



The Status of Missile Defense Systems


The Obama Administration and Missile Defense






Selected References




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President George W. Bushs controversial order to deploy a land-based

ballistic missile defense in 2002, following the unilateral abrogation of the
1972 Antiballistic Missile [ABM] Treaty, did not end five decades of debate.
Indeed, not only were old issues revisited but new ones arose, especially
given the Bush administrations efforts to extend Americas ballistic missile defense (BMD) network to Central and Eastern Europe. Nor did the
Bush administrations efforts to use the new BMD system as a deterrent
succeed in persuading the so-called rogue states of North Korea and Iran
to halt their development of missiles or nuclear activities. This account,
then, reviews the Bush BMD deployment after its first eight years and
introduces the manner in which his successor, President Barak Obama,
has sought to deal with the continuing issues. If this accounts objectives
are met, readers should have sufficient data to judge whether these issues
have been adequately assessed by American leaders and, with the deployment of a missile defense system, whether the American public will actually be protected by the system.
For the preparation of the introductory chapters, I have revisited an earlier work, The Quest for Missile Defense, 19442003 (2004), written in collaboration with Professor Lester H. Brune. The first three chapters provide a
brief background regarding the research and development of various ballistic missile defense components as well as the pros and cons regarding
the issue of actual deployment. A glossary is provided for easy reference
to the acronyms used. A select bibliography is provided for those who
wish to delve further into the issues. For those individuals uninitiated in
the basic workings of ballistic missile and antiballistic missile systems, the
chart following the Introduction may prove helpful.



Along the way, I have accumulated several debts. My wife, Glenda,

encouraged me to stay with the challenge of preparing this study. My earlier coauthor, Lester H. Brune, provided a great deal of material for the
initial study, some of which has found its way into this account. I especially wish to acknowledge the efforts of senior editor Steve Catalano at
ABC-CLIO Praeger in steering this study through to completion.
Finally, I must acknowledge the vital assistance I have received from
Philip Coyle; indeed, without his considerable efforts and material contributions it is unlikely that this book would have been completed. His reading of the manuscript and his willingness to share his extensive knowledge
of the subject have helped me capture the technical features of the missile
defense components. I owe Philip much for his encouragement, his kindness, and his perseverance.
Even so, I accept full responsibility for any errors that remain and all
unattributed opinions offered in the text.
Richard Dean Burns
Claremont, California



Airborne Laser
Antiballistic Missile
Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, U.S.
Atomic Energy Commission
Aegis Lightweight Exoatmospheric Projectile Intercept
Airborne Laser Testbed
Advanced Research Projects Agency
Antitactical Ballistic Missile
Ballistic Missile Defense
Ballistic Missile Defense Organization
Ballistic Missile Defense System
Brilliant Pebbles
Conventional Forces in Europe
Central Intelligence Agency
Defense Acquisition Board
Defense Intelligence Agency
Defense Science Board
Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (exoatmospheric = outside the
atmosphere; endoatmospheric = inside the atmosphere)
Exoatmospheric Reentry Interceptor Subsystem
Forward Acquisition Radar
Father of All Bombs
General Accounting Office, U.S.
Ground-to-Air Pilotless Aircraft
Ground-based Midcourse Defense (G. W. Bush)



Global Protection Against Limited Strikes

Global Protection System
Hydrogen bomb
High Endoatmospheric Defense Interceptors
Homing Overlay Experiment
Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces
Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile
Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization
Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netter
Local Acquisition Radar
Large Phased-Array Radar
Mutual Assured Destruction
Missile Defense Agency
Medium Extended Air Defense System
Multiple Independently Targeted Reentry Vehicle
Mother of All Bombs; also Massive Ordnance Air Burst
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
National Missile Defense (ground-based-Clinton)
Patriot Advanced Capability-3
Phased Array Tracking Intercept of Target
Strategic Air Command
(1st) Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (Talks)
(2nd) Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (Talks)
Surface-to-Air Missile (Soviet)
SBIRS-High Space-Based Infrared System
Standing Consultative Commission
Strategic Defense Initiative Organization
Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile
Standard Missile
Strategic Arms Reductions Talks
(1st) Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
(2nd) Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
Theater High-Altitude Area Defense
Theater Missile Defense
Ultra High Frequency
Zeus Acquisition Radar


The development of ballistic missiles by Nazi Germany launched the

United States on a quest for the means to defeat this new weaponry.
Americas first Secretary of Defense James Forrestal supported this effort, because he believed that history has shown that all new weapons
always developed a countermeasure, beginning with what the Romans
developed to counteract Hannibals use of elephants. He did recognize,
however, that technology could not always ensure success. Yet technical and operational capabilities of various ballistic missile defense (BMD)
systems quickly garnered considerable attention from government officials, military officers, the scientific community, and a segment of the
public. Gradually this attention spread to the broad political and strategic aspects of the BMD quest, along with the financial costs of its many
Those individuals subsequently advocating the deployment of BMD
systems have based their demands on threats that changed frequently.
During the Cold War, it was the threat of Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and an occasional concern with mainland Chinas
missiles. The BMDs were vital, according to these advocates, either to
enhance and preserve the deterrence system, to serve as bargaining
chips in negotiations, or to fend off accidental or unintended launches. In
subsequent years, their attention focused on the so-called rogue nations,
such as North Korea and Iran, who were thought to be developing nuclear
weapons that could be attached to their missiles. Fear of these real and
alleged activities persuaded neighboring countries such as Japan, South

The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

Korea, India, and Israel to deploy various types of BMD systems. After
the 9/11 attacks, Washington justified the use of BMDs as protection from
President George W. Bushs decision to proceed with the deployment
of an ABM defensive system in 2002 was the culmination of a series of
increasingly partisan political controversies that reached back to the 1950s.
During this half-century, three contentious debates witnessed increasingly
insistent demands, which were equally aggressively criticized, to deploy
the existing components. The first debates that spanned the presidencies
of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon arose in response to the
armys deployment request in 1955 and to the Johnson-Nixon decisions
to construct a rudimentary BMD system in the late 1960s. The controversy
temporarily abated with the bilateral ABM Treaty of 1972. This initial
debate was waged largely between the White House, the Pentagon, and
Congress; only occasionally did it extend into the public arena. The second controversy, this time quite public, stemmed from President Ronald
Reagans startling request, in a speech on March 23, 1983, for the scientific communitythat had created the nuclear-tipped ICBMsto develop
the means of shielding the American public from the consequences of
their possible use. The Reagan administrations eagerness to develop and
deploy a BMD system encountered several political and technical obstacles that eventually diminished enthusiasm for immediate deployment.
His successor, President George H. W. Bush, reacted to the lack of technical progress by postponing deployment while the administration concentrated on the essential research and development needed to improve the
various ABM components.
Reagan and his supporters much publicized efforts, however, succeeded in making BMD deployment a partisan political issue. Indeed,
they stitched it onto the ideological fabric of the Republican Party. The
final contentious debate, stimulated by partisan politics and the July 1998
Rumsfeld Commission Report, found a Republican Congress demanding that the Clinton administration immediately deploy the existing ABM
components. If President William Clinton ultimately rebuffed these partisan efforts, his successor George W. Bush moved with alacrity to abrogate
the 1972 ABM Treaty and, subsequently, to order deployment of a controversial land-based BMD network in Alaska and California.
The American electorate has had considerable difficulty following the
various arguments related to BMD systems. Pollsters discovered that the
heated political exchanges over the deployment issue apparently served
largely to confuse the electorate. A public opinion survey taken in late
July 1998, for example, indicated that two-thirds of all Americans erroneously believed that a missile defense system already existed to protect them
from a nuclear attack!2 The publics confusion over the status of missile
defenses was undoubtedly due to a variety of reasons. Among the more
obvious of these has been an overconfidence in Americas technological


abilities, the public relations strategies of missile defense proponents and

contractors, and the partisan political approach to the issue.
* * *
The contentious debates frequently centered on three basic issues: the
financial expense, operational reliability, and impact on international
strategic stability of ballistic missile defense systems. The fiscal cost of
BMD efforts from 1945 to 2002 was substantial. Since the end of World
War II, thousands of scientists and technologists had spent hundreds of
thousands of hours seeking to develop effective antimissile components
including specialized computers and their software, radar units, and
interceptor missiles. Beyond extensive basic research, these specialists
had developed experimental components and conducted tests of various
ABM systems for more than 50 years at the cost of well over $120 billion.
From 2002 to 2008, President George W. Bushs Missile Defense Agency
(MDA) spent an additional $57 billion on development, deployment, and
procurement of its antimissile systems. However, as Richard F. Kaufman
and others pointed out in their concise study, The Full Costs of Ballistic Missile Defense:
When a program requires many years of development, production, installation,
and operation, the costs incurred at the beginning will be misleadingly low as to
the ultimate cost of the system. As weapons systems have become more sophisticated and more complicated, this disparity between ultimate and immediate costs
has grown. But few, if any, military or other systems match the long-run nature of
the commitments involved in ballistic missile defense.

After thorough examination of the factors involved, these analysts concluded the long-run costs could mount to the neighborhood of one trillion dollars. In a somewhat similar vein, the General Accounting Office
(GAO) has pointed out the cost to operate and support a weapon system traditionally accounts for over 70 percent of the total cost over the
systems lifetime. Consequently, the resources needed to operate and
support BMDS could be significant over time. The GAO also noted in a
March 2009 report that various MDAs ballistic missile defense systems
have experienced cost overruns and vague accounting procedures. During the last few years, members of Congress, not surprisingly, have gradually began to ask more questions regarding the budgeting for the MDAs
antimissile systems.3
Critics have persistently questioned the operational reliability of various ABM components and, especially, proposals for the deployment
of these units as BMD systems. One measure of an antimissiles performance was its authorized tests, but confusion often surrounded the
assessment of the test results. This skepticism stemmed from the Pentagons early antimissile tests claims, which initially were widely touted

The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

as successful but later found to be largely bogus. Media coverage of an

antimissile test initially echoed the Pentagons claims, but rarely clarified
the specific nature of the actual test. Even an accurate, widely heralded
successful test does not necessarily indicate that an antimissile system
is operationally effective, because most of these tests have been heavily
scripted. That is, the early tests were conducted with the target trajectory known in advance and at a lower altitude and slower speed than a
hostile intercept would undoubtedly require, and some early test targets
carried a transponder whose data were used to direct the interceptors
toward the target area. Data defining the mock warhead were usually
fed into the kill vehicles before their attempted intercept in order for
them to locate the mock warhead among other objects, including decoys,
in the area. When challenged, the Pentagon has readily admitted that its
antimissile tests were scripted, but it defends these practices as necessary
because of range limitations, safety considerations, and a lack of radar
coverage across the entire test area. Also, missile defense officials point
out that the first test for a new aircraft is to see if it will taxi properly;
thus they insist scripted tests allow for the step-by-step determination
of which individual pieces of equipment function properly and which
require modification. Critics have continually challenged the Pentagons
evaluation of flight test results by pointing out that these activities, even
if they accomplished their objectives, did not take place in a real-world
Consequently, skeptics pointed out that the Bush administration undertook to deploy a system that the Pentagon could not certify as an operationally reliable BMD system capable of protecting the continental United
States from an attack by a barrage of enemy intercontinental ballistic missiles or, perhaps, even a single missile. Indeed, it is difficult to assess the
status of the U.S. missile defense systems, as a former assistant secretary of
defense and director of weapon testing at the Pentagon, Philip Coyle, has
emphasized, because the current programs have no operational criteria
for success. Consequently, he pointed out to the House Subcommittee on
Strategic Forces in 2009, that it is very difficult to evaluate the system until
one knows: How good is the system supposed to be? Is 10% effectiveness
good enough? What about 1%? Can the system handle realistic threats as
documented in Intelligence Community threat assessments? How many
interceptors should be required to defeat one target?5
Then, too, there are serious considerations regarding actual realistic
operational conditions that are rarely mentioned. Any adversarys use
of several ICBMs to challenge Americas ballistic missile defenses would
involve nuclear warheads; the BMDs are not designed to intercept scores
of bomblets loaded with biological weapons. In the case of such an ICBM
attack, some enemy warheads could breach U.S. defense and reach their
target, some enemy missiles may be equipped with warhead fuses that
trigger the warhead just before defensive interceptors arrive, and some
enemy warheads may explode when hit by an interceptor. Any nuclear


weapons that were triggered would produce mushroom clouds, blast, neutrons, x-rays, and fire storms, creating a disruptive nuclear environment.
Such an environment could affect missile defense interceptors, satellites,
and command and control installations, especially radars. Apart from the
potentially chaotic nuclear environment, realistic operational conditions
include the other dizzying aspects of warfighting and the fog of war that
include such events as bad weather or the angle of the sun relative to infrared sensors. Although U.S. officials have frequently made exaggerated
claims about the reliability and dependability of the nations antimissile
systems, they seldom consider the very real difficulties of trying to maintain BMD systems during a nuclear assault. As the director of Operational
Test and Evaluation described it in the Survivability section of his January
2009 report to Congress, Specific assets are unhardened to nuclear, biological, or chemical attack.6
* * *
The impact of BMD systems on the international strategic environment
has often been a stated concern. As nuclear arsenals expanded in the 1960s,
and the concept of deterrence grew, strategic theorists gradually linked
the new idea with such descriptive words as creditable, effective, and
stable. These theorists also speculated about various ways in which the
expanding nuclear arsenals might be employed. A first strike might
occur when one nation thought it could unleash sufficient nuclear forces
to overwhelm its foe and achieve a decisive victory. A closely related scenario, a preemptive strike, called for launching a nuclear strike when a
state anticipated its enemy was preparing to launch a first strike. A retaliatory strike or second strike would occur after a nation had absorbed
a nuclear first strike and launched a retaliatory strike sufficient to ensure
the destruction of the attacker. When each adversary possessed sufficient
nuclear weaponry to conduct a second strike, theorists held, de facto deterrence became a reality. As Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara clarified
this situation, assured destruction was less a particular policy or doctrine than it was a strategic reality. Many individuals pointed out that the
U.S.s vast nuclear arsenal and global delivery capabilities were more than
adequate to deter a ballistic missile attack from any nuclear-armed state.
Advocates of BMD deployment have argued that terrorist groups were
likely to seek missiles for use against American targets, but no nation
was likely to allow terrorists to launch a ballistic missile from its territory because the host nation would risk instant retaliation and annihilation. Should foreign terrorists, according to several analysts, choose to
use weapons of mass destruction, they would likely employ a ship or
truck to carry them to their targets. After all, long-range ballistic missiles,
which are complicated to load, aim, and launch, would likely be beyond
the ability of covert terrorists. In this context, Americas greatest threat,
in one commentators words, is not from rogue states, but from stateless

The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

Those individuals who believed the mutual deterrence syndrome to be

immoral hoped they could escape from it by building a missile defense system. According to James M. Lindsay and Michael E. OHanlon, a national
security policy that deliberately leaves the American people vulnerable to
attack when technology makes it possible to protect them is immoral and
unacceptable. Not only does it fly in the face of common sense to leave the
nation undefended, but it could hamstring Americas role in the world.
Other proponents of establishing BMD systems argued that governments
hostile to the United States possessing ballistic missiles might believe they
could challenge Americas worldwide interests and deter Washington,
without a missile defense, from resisting the threat. Then, too, without an
adequate missile defense, U.S. allies might question Washingtons willingness to honor its security pledges and thus lessen U.S. global influence.
Additional questions have arisen regarding the possible destabilizing
effect of ABM systems on the strategic environment. The Bush administration undertook to expand its BMD network into Central and Eastern
Europe, ostensibly to detect and destroy any Iranian missiles aimed at
European countries or the United States. This projection of American
influence and power aroused the ire of the Russians and led to mounting tensions. Moscow viewed Washingtons efforts to develop BMD
sites in Poland and the Czech Republic as an infringement on its sphere
of interest. Although the administration sought to ease tensions by insisting these new BMD sites did not threaten Russias ICBMs or its security,
this rationale was found unacceptable in Moscow. The White House
sought to launch the construction of the European extension of its BMD
system before the Bush administration ended despite the destabilizing
effect such action might have on the relations between the two countries.
Such an approach, the Arms Control Associations executive director,
Daryl G. Kimball, wrote, is mistaken and reckless.7
The Obama administration inherited this ongoing dispute and the
search to find a solution. In a speech on November 10, 2009, General Kevin
Chilton, head of the U.S Strategic Command, pointed to the risks involved
in creating an elaborate BMD program. As reported by Reuters and other
news outlets, he explained that a U.S. missile defense system that is too
robust could actually backfire and become destabilizing, prompting
countries like China to expand their nuclear arsenal. Chilton explained,
We have to be cautious with missile defense. Missile defense can be
destabilizing depending on how you array it. Certainly a BMD deployment might have a destabilizing impact on its relations with allies and
adversaries. Would rival nations fear that the United Statesbelieving it
to be impervious to retaliationmight begin pressing them to conform
to Washingtons wishes or face serious consequences? Would missile
defenses thus create a potential first strike situation? Would such activity impede strategic arms limitation efforts and launch a new strategic
arms race? Is the next step to place weapons in space? Would U.S. missile


defenses renew the strategic nuclear arms race? Thus, BMD critics have
contended that a nationwide missile defense could result in an adversary
considering several options: launching a first strike, engaging in an arms
race in outer space, or expanding their fleet of ballistic missiles and arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. In any of these, as well as other detrimental circumstances, Americans might find themselves with less, rather
than more, security.8
* * *
The United States has not been alone in the pursuit of a missile defense
system. The Soviet Union and, later, Russia have shown an interest in pursuing antimissile systems during the past five decades. Soviet and Russian defence policy decisions, British analyst Jennifer Mathers has noted,
were shaped by a combination of domestic and international factors and
by the agendas and priorities of individual political and military leaders as
well as the constraints and opportunities of the environments in which they
operated.9 All in all, Moscows decisions throughout were driven by fears
and special interests, such as their powerful military industrial complex.
The Soviet Union expended considerable scientific talent, technological
effort, and rubles, largely unsuccessfully, to develop an antimissile system for the protection of its major cities from ballistic missiles. During the
Cold War, U.S. intelligence agencies attempting to follow these activities,
often erroneously credited the Soviets with undeserved successes. American Cold War hawks then frequently used these claims to press various
administrations to deploy one or another of the nations fledgling missile
defense systems. The recognized inadequacies of their early deployments
around Leningrad and Moscow in the 1960s led Soviet leaders to join President Nixon in the bilateral 1972 ABM Treaty to limit the development and
deployment of missile defense systems.
President George W. Bushs unilateral abrogation of the ABM Treaty in
2002, to pave the way for deployment of a nationwide missile defense system, forced Russian leaders to discuss reviving their pursuit of antimissile development. Moscows limited resources, however, greatly hindered
a serious BMD undertaking. Instead, the Russians opted to equip their
existing ICBMs with various sophisticated decoy devices and to build
more and more accurate ICBMs designed to overwhelm any American
BMD system. Beijing officials revealed concern and irritation that their
ICBMs might be the real reason for Washingtons BMD deployment and
began reassessing their missile arsenal. The Bush administration, however, insisted that the termination of the ABM Treaty and deployment of
a land- and sea-based antimissile network were designed to counter any
ICBMs from the so-called rogue nationsIran and North Korea.
Although there has been an increase in the number of ballistic missiles
around the world, there are legitimate questions as to whether national
BMD systems are the only way to deal with the problem. Even if most

The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

of the worlds missiles are in the hands of governments that generally

have friendly relations with the United States, perhaps more emphasis on
controlling the proliferation of ballistic missiles might supplement BMD
efforts. While missile nonproliferation and missile defense are directed
against the same threats, according to former member of the U.S. Arms
Control Agency Richard Speier, in practice there are gaps and potential
conflicts between nonproliferation and defense strategies. But, according to Speier, it should not be a situation of missile controls versus missile defenses. The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) focuses
on controlling, often restricting, transfer of ballistic missiles and, as such,
has established a set of stringent rules governing their export. U.S. export
of antimissile interceptors that approach and/or exceed the MTCRs
500 kilogram/300 kilometer linesuch as the SM-3, the ground-based
missile system (GBM), Israels Arrowinvites the weakening of controls.
If the MTCRs principle of restraint were damaged, and a large numbers
of transfers were made, there is the danger that the basic rocket systems of
these large interceptors might be used as the basis for offensive missiles.
One solution that makes military and nonproliferation sense would be
to have centralized control of these interceptors, especially among allies,
rather than transferring ownership. The key for missile defense policymakers, according to Speier, is to avoid demonizing the MTCR and to
look more broadly at export vulnerabilities and operational realities.10
* * *
The chapters that follow review the pros and cons raised by Americans
regarding a decision to deploy an antimissile system. These chapters provide information regarding such a decision and address a wide range of
considerations, not exclusive to the following:
1. Is the missile threat believable?
2. Is BMD the most effective way to deal with a potential foe?
3. Can raid attacks and countermeasures limit the effectiveness of a BMD system?
4. Are the benets of a BMD worth the cost?
5. How reliable are the BMD systems?
6. Has their reliability been subjected to operational testing?
7. Can a BMD destabilize international strategic security?

If this accounts objectives are met, readers should have sufficient data
to judge whether these considerations have been adequately assessed by
American leaders and, with the deployment of a missile defense system,
whether the American public will actually be protected.
Certain themes, ideas, and data are central to grappling with this topic.
Consequently, the reader may find some of these reiterated in the text
because the author believes these concepts or data warrant repeating.



Ballistic missiles are classified by their maximum range, which is a function of the missiles engines (rockets) and the weight of the missiles warhead. To add more distance to a missiles range, rockets are stacked on top
of each other in a configuration referred to as staging.
There are four general classifications of ballistic missiles:
Short-range ballistic missiles, traveling less than 1,000 kilometers (approximately 620 miles)
Medium-range ballistic missiles, traveling between 1,0003,000 kilometers
(approximately 6201860 miles)
Intermediate-range ballistic missiles, traveling between 3,0005,500 kilometers
(approximately 1,8603,410 miles)
Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), traveling more than 5,500 kilometers

Short- and medium-range ballistic missiles are referred to as theater ballistic missiles, whereas ICBMs or long-range ballistic missiles are described
as strategic ballistic missiles. The ABM Treaty prohibited the development
of nationwide strategic defenses, but permitted development of theater
missile defenses.
All Ballistic Missiles Have Three Stages of Flight:**
The boost phase begins at launch and lasts until the rocket engines stop ring
and pushing the missile away from Earth. Depending on the missile, this stage
lasts between three and ve minutes. During much of this time, the missile is
traveling relatively slowly, although toward the end of this stage an ICBM can
reach speeds of more than 24,000 kilometers per hour. The missile stays in one
piece during this stage.
The midcourse phase begins after the rockets nish ring and the missile is
on a ballistic course toward its target. This is the longest stage of a missiles
ight, lasting up to 20 minutes for ICBMs. During the early part of the midcourse stage, the missile is still ascending toward its apogee, while during the
latter part it is descending toward Earth. It is during this stage that the missiles
warhead(s), as well as any decoys, separate from the delivery vehicle.
The terminal phase begins when the missiles warhead re-enters the Earths
atmosphere, and it continues until impact or detonation. This stage takes less
than a minute for a strategic warhead, which can be traveling at speeds greater
than 3,200 kilometers per hour.

*Reproduced with permission from Arms Control Today ( July/August 2002): 3134.
**Short- and medium-range ballistic missiles may not exit the atmosphere or have a
warhead that separates from its booster.


Missile Defense to ABM

Diplomacy: From Eisenhower
to Nixon

A new aerial threat arose late in World War II when, in September 1944,
Germany launched V-1 and V-2 missiles at England and Allied forces in
France. The V-1 was an unmanned, jet-propelled cruise missile, virtually
a flying bomb; the V-2 was a liquid-fueled ballistic missile that propelled
itself during the launch stage and then fell freely in its descent toward its
target. Each German missile carried about one ton of high explosives, but
since they could not be aimed with any precision, they were essentially
weapons of terror. Beginning on September 8, 1944, for example, the first
of 500 German V-2 missiles hit London resulting in, by the time strikes
ended on March 27, 1945, more than 2,500 deaths. Meanwhile, the Germans had launched literally hundreds of these primitive missiles against
France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, and advancing Allied forces.
Fortunately, the war ended before the Germans could deploy a planned
two-stage ballistic missile that apparently was intended to target New
York City. Although the Allies bombed the launch sites, when they could
be located, there was no defense against V-2s once they were in flight.
Had the V weapons been available earlier, according to General Dwight
Eisenhower, the Allies June 1944 Normandy invasion might have been
impossible without an antimissile defensive system.1
Since it is an axiom of warfare that once a new weapon appears there
is a rush to develop defensive countermeasures, it is not surprising
that the Truman administration immediately initiated ballistic missile
defense (BMD) research. Both the U.S. Army and its Air Corps promptly
initiated separate programs aimed at developing antimissile systems to
counter the threat of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. The

Missile Defense to ABM Diplomacy


army established its original, evolving Nike program in February 1945,

and a month later the Army Air Corps created Project Wizard. The War
Departments Equipment Board, headed by General Joseph W. Stilwell,
issued a report in May 1946 that foresaw much of the future technological challenges:
Guided missiles, winged or non-winged, traveling at extreme altitudes and at
velocities in excess of supersonic speed, are inevitable. Intercontinental ranges of
over 3,000 miles and pay load [sic] sufficient to carry atomic explosive [sic] are to be
expected. Remotely controlled, and equipped with homing devices designed to be
attracted to sound, metal, or heat, such missiles would be incapable of interception
with any existing equipment such as fighter aircraft and antiaircraft fire. Guided
interceptor missiles, dispatched in accordance with electronically computed data
obtained from radar detection stations, will be required.

The report recommended, consequently, the development of defensive

measures against atomic weapons be accorded priority over all other National Defense projects.2
Subsequently, presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower to William Clinton undertook, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, the research and testing technology initially to counter enemy bombers and then long-range
missiles. The problems encountered in meeting the threat of missiles
would prove much greater than that of bombers because missiles reach
their targets much more quickly and because a single nuclear-tipped missile reaching an urban area could cause massive devastation. Among the
major technological challenges in creating a reliable antimissile system
was that of detecting enemy missiles soon enough to launch and direct
interceptors to destroy them, or that of identifying a detached incoming
warhead among its countermeasures, penetration aids, or several decoys.
Then, too, political-strategic questions arose regarding the potential detrimental impact of antiballistic missiles (ABMs) on the prevailing concept
of deterrence. Would missile defenses only prompt a new type of arms
race, with each side trying to build more and more offenses to overwhelm
those defenses, while also building up more missile defenses? Would a
deployed ABM system, if effective, provide a nations leaders the opportunity of launching a first strike with little concern of retaliation?
Despite difficulties in resolving technical challenges and strategic considerations, American presidents often found themselves under pressure
from a variety of contractors, military officers, political officials and scientists to deploy the antimissile systems currently under development.
* * *
With the onset of the Cold War, and after the Soviet Union developed
atomic weapons and aircraft capable of delivering them over the North
Pole during the 1950s, the United States focused its efforts on obtaining


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

missiles capable of shooting down enemy bombers. Drawing on previous

research and development efforts, the Eisenhower administration in 1953
supervised the Armys deployment of its evolving Nike surface-to-air
system around U.S. cities and airfields to provide protection from Soviet
bombers. By 1958, some 200 sites hosted the short-range, liquid-fueled
Nike-Ajax system; however, that same year the army began upgrading
the batteries with the solid-fueled and nuclear-tipped Nike-Hercules that
had a range of 75 miles. A key component of the new Nike program was
the radar-driven early warning system that began with 7 sites in 1949 and
ultimately numbered 74 stations by 1952. Later, with the completion of
the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line in the far northern Arctic regions
in 1960, the early warning system provided coverage, initially targeting
enemy bombers, from northern Canada to the Mexican border.
With the shifting of emphasis from a defense against enemy bombers to
that of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in the 1960s, the value of
the Nike-Hercules batteries rapidly diminished until they began to be deactivated in November 1968. On November 3, 1973, the army was directed to
shut down all remaining sites. Meanwhile, the Eisenhower administration
had been searching for a defense against the deadly nuclear-tipped ICBM
missiles. Before the end of the decade, the army had created the NikeZeus antiballistic missile system that it argued could cope with Soviet
ICBMs. This system included a three-stage, solid-propellant interceptor
missile tipped with a 400-pound nuclear warhead, an advanced radar, and

Nike-Hercules Air Defense Missile. (Courtesy: Department of Defense)

Missile Defense to ABM Diplomacy


communication links.3 Attention then focused on the possible deployment

of the Nike-Zeus system.
Initial debates regarding an ABM deployment during the last years of
the Eisenhower administration soon erupted into a hotly contested dispute between the army and the newly independent Air Force. Between
1956 and 1958, the U.S. Army and the Air Force disagreed over an antimissile defense systems ability to protect the Air Forces airfields that housed
the U.S. main deterrent force, its nuclear equipped bomber fleet. In the
opening round of the interservice debates, Army General Maxwell Taylor
on October 28, 1957 insisted: We can see no reason why the country cannot have an antimissile defense for a price that is within reach. Because
its Nike-Zeus program was two years ahead of the Air Forces inherited
Wizard project, the army argued that its system should be put into production and deployed to protect the airfields. Seeking funds for additional
ICBMs, air force officials urged the Joint Chiefs of Staff not to press for
deployment of Nike-Zeus because the system could be easily deceived by
decoys, would be too expensive, and could create an unrealistic sense of
security. Not adverse to joining the interservice rivalry, the navy in 1959
suggested that its Talos missile could be employed in an ABM system.
After analysis of army and air force ABM systems in 1959, Richard E.
Horner, the Air Forces assistant secretary of defense for research and
development, reported that the air forces ABM system would cost more
than it was worth. He believed, moreover, that both air forces system
and the armys Nike-Zeus could be readily overwhelmed by the Soviet
Unions ICBM reentry vehicles carrying nuclear warheads and a variety
of decoys. Thus, Horner urged canceling all ABM programs and spending
the money on production of more ICBMs.4 His advice was ignored.
These vigorous debates among the armed services was indicative of how
vitally concerned they were about their assigned roles and missions in the
newly emerging strategic environment. Upon gaining its independence,
the air force with its bombers and ICBMs claimed a broad strategic role,
while the army hoped to retrieve its former power, prestige, and funding
with short-range missiles and by gaining control of the ballistic missile
defense program. As the army was gradually assigned primary responsibility for the ABM systems and the navy added submarines designed
to launch Polaris missiles in 1961, the missions of the armed service were
clarified and the rivalry declined. By the mid-1960s, a unified Joint Chiefs
of Staff began pressing for deployment of a ballistic missile defense system. The army sought funding for the production of the Zeus system in
the fiscal year 1959 budget, hoping to gain approval of a 1962 operational
deployment of an antimissile system.
The secret November 1957 Gaither Commission Report added to the
arguments for an ABM deployment when it claimed the Soviets were far
ahead of the United States in the development and deployment of strategic
nuclear forces. To protect the American public, the report argued, it was


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

of the utmost importance to construct a nationwide program of fallout

shelters and to provide an active defense of cities and other critical areas
[which] demands the development and installation of the basic elements
of a [missile defense] system at an early date. Such a system initially may
have only a relatively low-altitude intercept capability, but would provide the framework on which to add improvements brought forth by the
research and test programs.5 This approach of build and test, improve
and test until an adequate system was established lay at the heart of most
rationales for deployment including much later that of George W. Bush.
A series of studies conducted during 1958 and 1959 within the Defense
Department, however, found that the introduction of ICBMs had vastly
complicated development of defensive measures. The Pentagons Reentry
Body Identification Groups spring 1958 report had, according to missile
defense historian Donald Baucom, detailed several weaknesses in the
Zeus system, including vulnerability of its radar, the inability of NikeZeus to deal with decoys, and the fact that nuclear explosions at high altitudes would blind the Zeus radar. (Even if the Soviets did not detonate a
warhead, the explosion of the nuclear warhead of a Zeus missile would
blind its own radar.) The presidents Scientific Advisory Boards January
1959 report concluded that antimissile technology was not sufficiently
advanced to enable anyone to conceive reliable systems for intercepting
and destroying missiles.
In spite of the Soviets August 1957 test of a long-range ballistic missile and its October launch of Sputnik, Eisenhower declared, We are well
ahead of the Soviets in the nuclear field both in quantity and in quality.
We intend to stay ahead. He followed the advice of his scientific advisers
and vetoed deployment of the Nike-Zeus system because it was still considered unreliable. Outspoken in defense of the administrations rejection
of the shelter program, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles believed the
American people would be hard pressed to sustain simultaneously an
offensive and defensive mood. Moreover, he argued, For our security
we have been relying above all on our capacity for retaliation.6
The Gaither Report argued that the Soviet Union would likely have a
dozen ICBMs operational within a year, while it would take the United
States two or three years to catch up, thereby creating what the media
labeled a missile gap. The notion of missile gap was further encouraged by subsequent intelligence estimates, later shown to be inflated,
and by the U.S. Air Forces prediction that the Soviets would have up to
500 operational ICBMs by 1961. Once again, according to journalist
Strobe Talbott, [the] constant underlying American analysis of the Soviets
quantifiable capacity was an assumption of their malevolent intent.7 In
the language of the Gaither Report, Khrushchevs Semyorka [new ICBM]
was an instrument for a disarming counterforce attack, while Americas
Atlas and Titan ICBMs, as well as its Thor and Jupiter intermediate-range
land-based missiles were our deterrent power. President Eisenhower,

Missile Defense to ABM Diplomacy


meanwhile, had top-secret U-2 reconnaissance aircrafts photographs of

Soviet missile operations that revealed the quality and variety of Soviet
weapons under development and being tested were vastly inferior to
those being developed and deployed by the United States. It was later
acknowledged that the Gaither Reports assessment and the official air
force estimates, especially the latter, were grossly inaccurate, for by 1960
the Soviets actually had only four operational ICBMs.8
Meanwhile, segments of the secret report had been leaked to the press,
and several politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, criticized Eisenhower for allowing a situation that endangered the deterrence system and
provided Moscow with a strategic advantage. However, classified data
that would have refuted these assertions, such as from the U-2 flights,
were not yet in the public domain. Thus, presidential candidate John F.
Kennedy, in an August 14, 1958 speech, claimed 19601964 would be
the most critical years of the gap, while the Democratic Party platform
denounced the Republicans for the missile gap, space gap, limited war
gap.9 Political repercussions that stemmed from the missile gap episode would influence later antimissile defense debates, because no future
candidate wanted to be blamed for an ABM gap.
Early in 1961, President Kennedy was urged to deploy the armys
Nike-Zeus system despite its serious technical weaknesses and strategic
concerns. His science advisor, Jerome Weisner, and other scientists, such
as the Defense Departments Dr. Jack P. Ruina, reiterated the previous
administrations negative findings and worried that an American ABM
system would only stimulate an arms race, as the Soviet Union would
feel compelled to develop more advanced offensive nuclear arms and the
United States would reciprocate. Since both nations understood that missile defenses could be overwhelmed with a massive attack, the more missile defenses, the greater the number of offensive weapons that each side
would believe it needed. Mutual ABM systems, moreover, challenged the
basic principle of nuclear deterrencethat of mutual vulnerability. Only
if both nuclear powers were unquestionably vulnerable to a retaliatory
nuclear attack would mutual deterrence rest on a solid foundation.
Harold Brown, director of Defense Research and Engineering, and
Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamaras chief weapons advisor, expanded
on this position in an April 1961 report. He concluded that the prospect of
an effective missile defense remained bleak, due to an enemys expected
use of decoy aids that would ensure the penetration of many nuclear
warheads. Any technical effort to counter these penetration aids would
add substantially to the cost of a successful ABM system. With the same
funds, more enhanced, less costly offensive systems such as ICBMs and
submarine-launched ballistic missiles, could be deployed. McNamara
applied the same analysis to the Nike-Zeus system, as he questioned its
technical feasibility, vulnerability to sophisticated ICBMs screened by
multiple decoys, and cost compared to offensive missiles. He told the


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

President John F. Kennedy and

Premier Nikita Khrushchev at
Vienna Conference, June 3, 1961.
(Courtesy: John F. Kennedy

Senate Armed Forces Committee on April 4 that as ICBMs become easier and cheaper to produce in coming years, any missile defense would
become an expensive system in relation to the degree of protection that
it can furnish. He also argued that deploying a system that destroyed
ICBMs after they reentered the atmosphere, as the Nike-Zeus did, would
require civil defense shelters to protect the population from the radiation
fallout released by both the enemys ICBM and the Nike interceptors
nuclear warheads.
The Senate Armed Forces Committee disagreed with McNamaras
evaluation of Nike-Zeus and persuaded the Senate to establish the Shifter
Commission to examine Zeuss current capabilities. The commission recommended that $137 million be allocated to Nike-Zeus until scheduled
rocket tests were completed in 1962. In a 1962 test, a Zeus launched from
the Kwajalein atoll in the South Pacific was deemed successful because it
came within 2 kilometers of an Atlas missile fired from Vandenberg Air
Forces Base in California. At that proximity, the Zeuss nuclear warhead
would have effectively destroyed it.
After the Zeus rocket intercepted two more Atlas missiles before the end
of 1962, McNamara decided to integrate Zeus with other essential configurations. Beginning in January 1963, Nike became known as Nike-X,

Missile Defense to ABM Diplomacy


which incorporated a multiple-array radar system designed to search

large areas of space to detect ICBMs and discriminate between decoys and
ICBM warheads. In addition, Zeus (now Spartan) was integrated with the
fast acceleration Sprint missile. Sprint was first tested at the White Sands
Missile Range in November 1965. By that date, however, McNamara had
postponed production of the Zeus system because the speed, number,
and nuclear payload of American and Soviet missiles had increased since
1962. The Defense Department endorsed the decision.10 Both the Sprint
and Spartan missiles carried thermonuclear warheads. The Spartan warhead had a yield of about five megatons. Spartan was designed to target
ICBMs at a distance of 75 to 100 miles above the earth. Any missiles that
Spartan missed were to be shot down by Sprint missiles that could reach
up to about 20 miles. Sprint and Spartan missiles were tested frequently
from 1965 to 1973.
Domestic politics and the desire to stabilize the nuclear environment
resulted in pressure on President Lyndon B. Johnson to consider deploying an ABM system. Increasingly, members of Congress, alarmed at U.S.
vulnerability during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and fearing the Soviets estimated 470 solid-fuel ICBMs, sought to put in place an antimissile system to deflect any Soviet nuclear attack. Even though the United
States possessed 1,146 ICBMSsuggesting both super powers possessed
more than enough missiles to effectively deter each other from their use
congressional leaders and military chiefs continued lobbying for an ABM
Raising doubts about the prospects of an ABM system, Herbert York
and Jerome Wiesner echoed earlier reports in their seminal October 1964
article in Scientific American. Basically, they argued that in their considered professional judgment the problems of developing an effective missile defence had no technical solution. More significantly, however, they
concluded that the deployment of ABM systems could threaten the nuclear
balance and its deterrent effect. Setting aside the earlier concerns of Kennedys science advisors, this was, historian Donald R. Baucom argues, the
first serious presentation of the critical relationship between the budding ABM programs and deterrence.12 In any event, it fixed the attention
of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.
* * *
Not long afterward, McNamara became a proponent of limiting or
banning missile defense programs, even as he and the president were
under heavy pressure from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and several members
of Congress to deploy existing ABM technology. On December 6, 1966,
McNamara reached a compromise with General Earle G. Wheeler, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and with Johnson. The administration should
immediately deploy a light or thin missile defense, Wheeler argued,
although the Joint Chiefs preferred a heavy city antimissile system for


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

the highest density populated areas. He based his recommendations

on two factors: First, we have watched the growing Soviet ability to
destroy our population and our industry, and second, the research and
development of the upgraded Nike system (now Nike-X) has reached
a point where the military believes it was ready for deployment.
A host of other prominent Americans also urged that a broad-based U.S.
ABM system was required to meet the challenge to deterrence posed by
Galosh, the Soviet ABM system. The Committee for a Prudent Defense
Policy asked for public and congressional support to put in place an antimissile system. Similarly, the powerful chairman of the Armed Services
Committee, Senator Richard B. Russell of Georgia, and other prominent
individuals including former Secretary of State Dean Acheson, mathematician Donald Brennan, Pentagon consultant Herman Kahn, physicist
Edward Teller, and Professor Albert Wohlstetter urged President Johnson
to deploy an ABM system.13
In the spring of 1966, the Senate Armed Services Committee, led by Russell, persuaded Congress to authorize $168 million for procuring components of the Nike-X system, although it was not in McNamaras proposed
Pentagon budget. Moscows deployment of its ABM system and Chinas
testing of its first thermonuclear device on May 6 prompted the House
Armed Services Committee to endorse its Senate counterparts call for an
ABM deployment. The issue took on a partisan political hue when, in the
spring of 1967, the Republican National Committee issued a lengthy red,
white, and blue pamphlet titled Is LBJ Right? The Republicans demanded to
know why the president had failed to order the deployment of the Nike-X.
Bowing to the building pressure, the president accepted McNamaras
proposed compromise that would satisfy the secretarys concern about
costs and effectiveness and Johnsons instinct of the political necessity for a
positive stance on the ABM issue. On September 7, McNamara announced
the restoration of funds that he had previously withheld for deploying a
thin-line ABM system, subsequently named Sentinel. It was designed,
he insisted, to defend against Chinas less threatening nuclear missile batteries, as it could not deflect a Soviet ICBM attack. He hoped by stressing
Beijings nascent ICBM program that Moscow would not see a need in
Washingtons ABM deployment to escalate the strategic arms race. At the
same time, Johnson declared that the restored funds would not be used to
deploy the Sentinel system until it was determined whether Moscow was
willing to discuss limitation of strategic weaponry, including ABMs.14
To bolster his case against a nationwide deployment and to sustain the
presidents desire for only a limited Sentinel system, McNamara arranged
a 1967 White House meeting with Johnson and the past and current White
House science advisors and Defense Department directors of research. The
distinguished group of scientists included Donald Hornig, John Foster,
Harold Brown, Jerome Weisner, James Killian, George Kistiakowsky, and
Herbert York. During the meeting, the scientists unanimously opposed

Missile Defense to ABM Diplomacy


deploying existing ABM components because the existing technology

simply could not defeat a major ICBM attack.
In an attempt to head off a decision on deployment, Johnson and McNamara met with Soviet leader Aleksei Kosygin at a brief, hastily arranged
Soviet-American summit from June 23 to June 25, 1967 at Glassboro, New
Jersey. They found Kosygin opposed to negotiations linking offensive and
defensive strategic arms, claiming that defensive missiles dont kill people. They protect them. Secretary of Defense McNamara responded that
the Soviet deployment of a missile defense system would lead to the escalation of an arms race. Thats not good for either one of us. At this point
Kosygin became agitated; he pounded the table and shouted, Defense is
moral; offense is immoral.15
Although Soviet leadership had yet to agree on a position regarding
negotiation of strategic weapons generally or ABM systems in particular, as early as 1965 Soviet critics of their own antiballistic missile efforts
began to emerge. Some Russian scientists had become convinced that an
effective ABM system was technically infeasible given the existing technologies. Civilian analyst Gennadi Gerasimov was one of the Soviets to
acknowledge serious problems in developing an adequate ABM program.
Reflecting the views expressed by physicists Herbert York and Jerome
Wiesner in Scientific American, he accepted the pairs claim that a technical solution to the ABM problem was not currently possible, and that it
was time to move beyond the arms race to disarmament. Gerasimovs
comments were doubly significant in that they revealed that the Russians
were observing the discourse among the American nuclear scientists
and that their anti-ABM position had begun to penetrate Soviet thinking. Later in 1968, dissident Soviet physicist Andrei Sakharov released his
searching samizdat memorandum, Reflections on Progress, Coexistence
and Intellectual Freedom, which also called for limiting ABM systems
as part of broader plea for sweeping domestic reforms and international
Although Soviet leadership continued to resist limiting missile defenses,
its weapons research and production specialists realized the significance
of Americas development of long-range missiles capable of carrying
multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles (MIRVs). These scientists were certain that the MIRVs would enter the U.S. inventory in a
few years and that they would easily saturate any ABM missile system,
rendering it useless. Soviet strategists, however, initially failed to recognize the extent to which MIRVs would enhance the U.S. ICBMs, increase
their counterforce potential, and render their adversarys ABM systems
impotent. Meanwhile, Russian critics of missile defenses lamented that
their doubts went unheeded by the countrys politico-military leadership, who remained convinced that no problem was beyond solution and
no technical difficulty was insurmountable, provided there was enough
investment and perseverance.17 The memory of the heavy losses suffered


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

during World War II continued to dominated Soviet strategic thought and

led policymakers to emphasize defensive measures.
The initial U.S. motivation for developing MIRVed ICBMs was, as Soviet
scientists surmised, to overwhelm any Soviet missile defense system.
During July 1968, the United States began testing MIRVs, which would
increase the payload of Minuteman III ICBMs by three or more warheads,
with each warhead aimed at independent targets. Ironically, by the time
the MIRVs became available, the Defense Department reported that the
construction of Moscows Galosh and Leningrads Tallinn antimissile systems was slowing down.
In January 1968, McNamara informed Congress about the Soviet ABMs,
emphasizing three points. First, Moscows construction of the Galosh
system was proceeding at a moderate pace and the Soviets had not
expanded it to other cities. (The U.S. intelligence report on Galosh was
only partly accurate, as earlier in 1967 the Soviets had canceled Moscows
A-35 ABM system because of questions regarding its reliability. The Soviets were currently depending on the Aldan combat antiaircraft system to
protect Moscow.) Second, U.S. intelligence reports indicated the Tallinn
system had no significant ABM capability, a finding repeated by Secretary of the Air Force Harold Brown before a congressional committee
in the spring of 1968. Third, intelligence officials believed China had not
tested an expected long-range ballistic missile during 1967. (Indeed, three
years later Chinas ICBM program continued to fall behind schedule.)
The Pentagons desire for the new MIRV technology, however, was undeterred, for it would provide the United States a temporary edge, but the
military chiefs had yet to acknowledge that it would also greatly escalate
the strategic arms race.18
Assessments of the Johnson administrations proposed Sentinel ABM
system in 1968 remained largely negative. The Federation of American
Scientists denounced it as economically irresponsible and militarily futile.
At first, the noted physicist Hans Bethe wrote in 1968, I supported
ABM and worked on it for several years. In the course of my work, however, I became convinced of the effectiveness of countermeasuresand
penetration aids especially. I concluded that ABM is likely to lead to an
increase of offensive weapons by both sides . . . thus, the country with the
ABM [system] is less secure than before. A month later, in March 1968,
Bethe and Richard Garwin published an article in Scientific American that
drew together the science communitys objection to the ABM. They reiterated the technical, economic, and strategic arguments against the ABM,
pointing out the ease with which penetration aids could defeat the costly,
ineffective system. Their conclusion was that the system could be easily
overwhelmed, so as to render it practically useless.19
Nonetheless, the Johnson administration was confronted by increasing
pressure from Congress, due in part to its contractors lobbying to deploy
the Armys Nike ABM system. When McNamara initially postponed the

Missile Defense to ABM Diplomacy


production and deployment of Nike-Zeus, for example, Army Magazine

for February 1961 published a two-page advertisement displaying a
map that showed the location of Zeus contractors in 37 states, where an
anticipated expenditure of $410 million would bring jobs and prosperity. The magazines advertisement reached all congressional representatives and senators in those 37 states and most of them, in turn, supported
budget allocations for the Defense Department to fund missile defense
research and development programs. On September 23, 1967, Business
Week reported that Western Electric had spread out design and development work on missile defense projects among close to 3,000 different
companies.20 These lobbying efforts were greatly aided by persisting
public fears that had arisen during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and by
demands that the administration match the feeble Moscow and Leningrad ABM systems.
Thus, in brief, the Johnson administration decided to undertake the
Sentinel program because of three factors: various groups and prominent
individuals who pressed the administration to counter the Soviet ABM
system, the congressional figures who wanted keep or expand the jobs
provided by missile defense contractors in their districts, and Johnsons
fear that Republican leadership would charge him with creating a missile
defense gap. The prospect of partisan charges led a well-known newspaper columnist to suggest that the Democrats were deploying the Nike-X
to defend against Republican-launched missiles.21
* * *
The newly elected Republican president, Richard Nixon, would deploy
an antimissile system, while at the same time negotiating with Moscow to
limit ABM programs. During his January 20, 1969 inauguration address,
Nixon called for an era of negotiations with Moscow. The same day, the
Soviet Foreign Affairs Ministry responded that it was willing to explore
issues regarding strategic weapons, including ABMs. While Nixon stalled
opening negotiations (they actually began in November), he reviewed the
Johnson administrations thin-line Sentinel ABM system. On March 14,
1969, Nixon told a White House press conference that: After a long study
of all of the options available, I have concluded that the Sentinel program
previously adopted should be substantially modified. He said the proposed ABM system could not defend our cities; therefore, he argued
Sentinel should be replaced with the Safeguard system, which would protect up to 12 Minuteman III ICBM sites to preserve a credible deterrent.
Initially, Safeguard systems would be deployed at Malstrom AFB, Montana, and at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota. Safeguard would also protect the United States against any Chinese Communist threat that might
arise in the next 10 years as well as against any irrational or accidental
attack that might occur of less than massive magnitude from the Soviet
Union. The president emphasized: Moving to a massive city defense


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

Short-lived Safeguard BMD site at Grand Forks, North Dakota: large radar built
some distance from Sprint and Spartan interceptors. (Courtesy: Ballistic Missile
Defense Organization)

system, even starting with a thin system and then going to a heavy system, tends to be more provocative in terms of making a first-strike capability against the Soviet Union. I want no provocation that might deter
arms [limitation] talks.22
If Nixon concluded the United States only required a sufficient number of ICBMs to survive a first strike and still be able to retaliate in kind,
he believed the Galosh system around Moscow was part of a Soviet firststrike strategy because it defended the USSRs capital city and would
partially shield their citizens from a U.S. retaliatory strike. In reality, of
course, Nixons rhetoric about first- and second-strike tactics obscured
the fact, as McNamara indicated in 1967, that each side already had sufficient missiles and warheads to destroy much of the world regardless
of who launched missiles first or who deployed largely ineffective ABM
systems. Nixon chose initially not to announce important decisions made
to enhance the Safeguard system. First, Safeguard increased the number
of ABM interceptors to protect Minuteman III ICBM sites, and second,
Safeguard altered Sentinels radar range to cover the continental United
States. The presidents National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger noted
in his memoirs that the extended radar coverage would create a better
base for rapid expansion of ICBMs site defenses if needed in the future.

Missile Defense to ABM Diplomacy


Although Nixon omitted data about radar coverage, Soviet scientists correctly anticipated that this was part of his Safeguard plan.23
Nixons change of the name and mission of the Sentinel system intensified debate in Congress when he sought increased funding for Safeguard,
as well as for the completion of testing and deploying MIRVed Minuteman III missiles. The Nixon administration faced the same criticism that
Johnson and McNamara experienced in 1967 and 1968. The challenge to
deploying the Safeguard ABM system came from prominent scientists
and liberal congressmen such as Democratic Senators Edward Kennedy
of Massachusetts and Albert Gore of Tennessee. Reporter Strobe Talbott
called opponents of the antimissile program a Whos Who of liberal
defense intelligentsia. These included President Kennedys former science advisor Jerome Weisner and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Hans
Bethe. These arms control proponents, inside and outside of Washington, D.C., argued that maintaining a strategic balance through negotiated
limits was more likely to lead to long-term security than an unlimited
race, with both sides seeking to gain temporary edge with the MIRVs. The
ABM systems, they insisted, challenged the basic principles of nuclear
deterrence and could stimulate a new arms race. Echoing the earlier criticisms of Bethe and Garwin, a March 1969 memo to Kissinger from a staff
member of the National Security Council concluded that the Safeguard
systems technical problems were so serious that we will not . . . [be able
to] rely on the system to do what we say we want it for. The considerable vulnerability systems radars to attack and easy overloading of its
computers were major concerns, Lawrence E. Lynn wrote. Moreover,
the computer programs, data processors and radars have never worked
together, and we dont know if they can. Even so, pointing to the heart
of the matter, he noted that Moscow and Beijing might take the system
seriously even if it doesnt work. Consequently, the deployment of Safeguard might provide a bargaining chip in future negotiations.24
Supporters of the Safeguard system included Paul Nitze, author of
harshly anti-Soviet NSC-68 and a frequent government insider specializing in military issues who disliked physicists like Bethe and Weisner
because they meddled in politics, and the hawkish Committee for a Prudent Defense Policy. Among the committees most outspoken proponents
of an ABM system were Senators Richard Russell, a recent convert, and
Strom Thurmond; former Secretary of State Dean Acheson; strategic analyst and economist Edward Luttwack; Rand Corporations military analyst Albert Wohlstetter; and Wohlstetters protg Paul Wolfowitz. Except
for individuals whose jobs depended on antimissile research and development, the committee had no prominent scientists supporting Safeguard.25
Congressional debate on the ABM issue temporarily subsided with a Senate vote on August 6, 1969. On an amendment to prohibit spending for
Safeguard, the final vote was deadlocked, 50 to 50, requiring Vice President Spiro Agnews vote, which defeated the amendment and preserved
Safeguard funding. The close vote persuaded Nixon that Safeguards best


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

President Richard Nixon talking with National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger.
(Courtesy: National Archives)

use would be as a bargaining chip during the upcoming negotiations with

the Soviet Union.
Nixon and Kissinger entered into negotiations with Moscow ignoring the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, who
argued throughout 1969 that nuclear deterrence based on assured destruction was better than vaguely verified arms control agreements. The president and his national security adviser adopted what they termed realistic
balance of power concepts that focused on international stability. They
envisioned strategic arms negotiations, along with other programs such as
economic incentives, as the way to promote cooperation, perhaps a dtente,
with the Soviet Union and Peoples Republic of China. Meanwhile, Soviet
military and foreign policy leaders also debated policies based on dtente
and strategic arms control. In 1968, when Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko announced that Moscow would discuss strategic arms limitations
with the Americans, he criticized unnamed theoreticians who believed
arms control arrangements and a dtente with capitalist nations were an
* * *
American-Soviet negotiations for the ABM Treaty and Strategic Arms
Limitation Talks (SALT) I pact began on November 17, 1969 and lasted until
May 1972, alternating between Helsinki and Vienna, with Gerard C. Smith,
director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, heading the

Missile Defense to ABM Diplomacy


American delegation, and Vladimir Semonov leading the Soviet team.

After the initial round of talks at Helsinki, the Soviet commission supervising the strategic arms talks reviewed the American position on missile
defense systems. They concluded, the U.S. position strongly supported
Soviet opponents of ABM systems, who were few in number and weak
at the time. The commission, nevertheless, was impressed with American arguments on the destabilizing nature of ABMsin terms of strategic
stabilityand the dangers inherent in a territorial ABM system deployment. It was not American arguments, however, that prompted a policy
change. Soviet leaders who had been enthusiastic about the A-35 Moscow
and Tallinn ABM systems before 1967 had become discouraged with the
existing level of ABM technology in the Soviet Union. Thus, when the
commission finally met with Soviet designers working on ABMs, virtually
every one of the scientists expressed serious doubts about the possibility of creating an effective ABM system in the near term. Consequently,
the Soviet delegation offered to discuss three possible options with the
Americans to resolve the ABM problem. The first option allowed both parties to deploy a comprehensive and dense defense system; the second
option permitted each party to deploy one or two ABM systems; the third
option called for a total ban on the deployment of ABMs.27
Subsequent American offers regarding ABMs alternately puzzled and
confounded their Soviet counterparts. In April 1970, the United States
offered an unusual proposal, endorsed by Kissinger, that would limit
ABMs to the defense of the National Command Authorities (NCA), that
is, Washington and Moscow. The new offer was surprisingKissinger
later labeled the proposal a first class blunderbecause it varied greatly
from the U.S. deployment program both in concept and in terms of congressional authorization and actual construction that focused on defending ICBMs sites. A week later, the Soviets accepted the NCA concept and
offered to work out the technical details. Apparently Kissingerand perhaps Nixon, who according to Kissinger displayed a remarkable indifference to technical issueshad expected the Soviets to counter, asking
for additional ABM sites, which the administration could use against congressional foes of Safeguard. On August 4, the Americans again surprised
the Soviets by advancing a new ABM proposal calling for either an NCA
deployment as earlier proposed or a total ban. Moscow promptly restated
its desire for the NCA limitation.28
ABM discussions lagged until early in 1971 when Kissingers suggestions, through Dobrynin, prompted Soviet delegates to propose a separate ABM treaty, leaving strategic offensive force decisions for subsequent
negotiations. The White House, however, continued to insist on dual
offensive-defensive agreements because they hoped to use Safeguards
deployment as a bargaining chip to gain Soviet concessions on offensive
nuclear systems. Nixon instructed the American delegates, on March 26,
1971, to propose a third alternative that called for four U.S. ABM sites


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

with 386 interceptor launchers to defend its ICBMs silos and one Soviet
ABM site with 100 interceptor launchers to protect Moscow. The proposal astonished the Soviets chief delegate Semonov who immediately
rejected it.29
Consequently, on May 20, 1971, Kissinger and Dobrynin dropped all
previous proposals and agreed to accept a separate ABM accord to be
accompanied by an interim agreement, SALT I pact, that would freeze
offensive ICBM launchers at their current numbers. In spite of Kissingers
understanding with Dobrynin, the American delegates received orders
from Nixon not to deviate from the previous, clearly unacceptable, hybrid
NCA offer. Nevertheless, on July 13, Smith privately asked Semenov if
Moscow might consider banning all ABMs, even though Nixon and
Kissinger were convinced the Soviets would never relinquish Moscows
ABM system. With Moscows approval, Semenov suggested that discussions begin on an ABM ban, but Nixon and Kissingermindful of the Pentagons strenuous advocacy of Safeguarddeclined. Although Semenov
indicated possible acceptance of a ban, Kissinger instructed Smith to drop
the idea while Nixon asked Smith to inform the Soviets that, during the
SALT II discussions, the United States would seek to ban all ABMs. Neither Nixon, however, nor later presidents seriously considered a total
ABM ban. Moscow must have become even more puzzled by Washingtons subsequent proposal. After May 20, talks shifted back to a separate
ABM accord with Washington still seeking an advantage in ABM sites. In
August 1971, the U.S. delegates asked for two American ABM sites, while
limiting the Soviet to one. The Soviet Unions chief negotiator Semonov
flatly rejected giving the United States a two-to-one advantage in ABM
There was serious concern, meanwhile, regarding the characteristics of
future ABM systems and what restrictions should be placed on these new
technologies. In 1971, ABM systems were largely composed of groundbased missile interceptors designed to carry nuclear warheads into space
where they were to explode near incoming enemy warheads and destroy
them. Speculation abounded on both sides about various future systems,
known as exotics, that might involve lasers, charged-particle beams,
or other, as yet undreamed of, devices that might be launched from
space-based stations. If exotics were to be controlled, simply prohibiting
deployment was insufficient because research laboratories could develop
and test such systems, which if successful might provide a technological
breakouta missile defense network that could be rapidly deployed in
violation of the ABM Treaty and shatter the strategic balance. Washingtons fear of a Soviet breakout and the desire to exempt secret U.S. groundbased laser experiments from the proposed treaty created a conundrum
for American policymakers.
Finally, in August 1971, Nixon instructed U.S. delegates to seek provisions that prohibited both parties from developing, producing, testing, or

Missile Defense to ABM Diplomacy


deploying sea-based, air-based, space-based, or mobile land-based ABM

launchers, ABM missiles, or ABM radars. Neatly exempted were the Joint
Chiefs experimental fixed-site ABM lasers. The presidential directive also
instructed the delegates not to be too precise in defining various technologies. In presenting this position, it stated, the delegation should not
invite a detailed negotiation or discussion of future ABM systems. Our
objective is to reach agreement on the broad principle that the agreement
should not be interpreted in such a way that either side could circumvent its provisions through future ABM systems or components.31 In late
August, Alexander Shchukin, the Soviet delegate who was a specialist
in radio-wave theory, asked American delegate Harold Brown to clarify
the U.S. understanding of the notion of development and of practical
application of limitations at this stage. After checking with his superiors,
Brown carefully responded:
By development we have in mind that stage in the evolution of a weapon system which follows research (in research we include the activities of conceptual
design and laboratory testing) and which precedes full-scale testing. The development stage, though often overlapping with research, is usually associated with the
construction and testing of one or more prototypes of the weapon system or its
major components. In our view, it is entirely logical and practical to prohibit the
developmentin this senseof those systems whose testing and deployment are

By the fall of 1971, the delegates at Geneva agreed on the basic elements
of Article V of the ABM Treaty that read: Each Party undertakes not to
develop, test, or deploy ABM systems or components which are sea-based,
air-based, space-based, or mobile land-based. Provisions for fixed landbased systems required additional discussions before being defined in Article II as a system to counter strategic ballistic missiles or their elements in
flight trajectory, currently consisting of ABM interceptors, launchers, and
radars. The phrase currently consisting of was added at the suggestion
of Raymond Garthoff, the executive secretary to the U.S. team, in order
to indicate that the treaty was to cover all systemscurrent and future.
The Soviets exercised a persistent inquisitiveness regarding exotic systems, especially the American laser program, and, in fact, they hoped to
employ their own large experimental antimissile lasers currently at a Central Asia fixed-site testing station. Eventually Soviet probing resulted in
an agreement to ban the deployment of fixed-base exotic ABMs. In the
Agreed Statement D of the ABM Treaty, a footnote stated that the Parties
agree that in the event ABM systems based on other physical principles
and including components capable of substituting for ABM interceptor
missiles, ABM launchers, or ABM radars are created in the future, specific
limitations on such systems and their components would be subject to
discussion . . . and agreement.


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

Paul Nitze, the Defense Departments representative on the American delegation, suggested the phrase systems based on other physical
principles that would prohibit future systems not available or even
thought of in 1971. After he convinced American and Soviet delegates
of the crucial role of ABM radars, Nitze adopted a complicated formula
for an index of radars power-aperture productthe power of the radar
and its area, a standard way of measuring radar capacitythat permitted
agreement on limits for the size of radars. Without these limits, both sides
could define future agreements on radars in a way that best suited new
technologies.33 These radar and other exotic provisions in the ABM Treaty
later became the basis for a nasty political battle between Reagans White
House and Congress during the 1980s.
The final negotiations found American officials still seeking an advantage in ABM sites. From August 1971 until April 1972, the U.S. delegation
continued to pitch a request for two American sites to a single Soviet site.
During the discussions in April and May 1972, however, it was agreed
that each side would be entitled to equal deployments. In the end, Smith,
Semenov, Kissinger, and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev finally
agreed that each side would be entitled to two ABM sites. Nixon visited
Brezhnev at Moscow on May 22, 1972, where they finalized and signed
the terms of the ABM Treaty and SALT I agreement. The ABM Treaty limited each side to one ABM site constructed around each nations capital
and another unstipulated site, each to be separated by no less than 1,300
kilometers (800 miles) to keep them from overlapping each other. Consequently, each of the two permitted sites was limited to 100 ABM launchers and 100 ABM interceptor missiles and was restricted to specific areas
that could provide only limited coverage. The treaty clearly prohibited the
establishment of a nationwide ballistic missile defense system.34
In Washington, Senate ratification did not come easily. Some opponents
claimed that SALT I failed to adequately limit Soviet ICBMs, whereas the
ABM treaty limited U.S. antimissile programs too severely. Others were
concerned that the ABM treaty provisions on exotic weapons prohibited
efforts to develop airborne laser systems that might someday be able to
protect the American people. Despite this opposition, the ABM Treaty was
ratified by the Senate (88 to 2) and became Public Law 92448 on November 15, 1972.35
Even senators who questioned the ABM Treatys limitations knew that
the Congress had no intention of providing the funds required to sustain
the Safeguard system and, thus, recognized the desirability of restricting
Soviet ABM efforts. At the same time, the advent of satellite reconnaissance
increased the American military and political establishments confidence
that adequate verification of Soviet ABM activities was taking place. The
ABM treaty of 1972 was the first pact in which each party pledged to not
interfere with the national technical means of verification of the other.
Nevertheless, wrangling over strategic limitations and the specifics of the

Missile Defense to ABM Diplomacy


ABM agreement continued into the SALT II negotiations. On July 3, 1974,

when Nixon visited Moscow to discuss SALT II with Brezhnevbut was
unable to achieve limits on MIRV warheadsthe two leaders did agree to
amend the 1972 ABM Treaty. This change limited each nation to one ABM
site in place of the two sites in the initial treaty.36
During preliminary discussions to establish the ABM and SALT negotiating process, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed that verification of the treaty provisions would be carried out by national technical
means, that is, by each nation independently employing electronic surveillance, satellite reconnaissance, and other forms of intelligence gathering. But how should the inevitable questions regarding compliance
with arms control agreements be dealt with? This issue was addressed
early in the negotiations when delegates devised the Standing Consultative Commission (SCC) to serve as a mechanism for resolving questions
regarding implementation of the SALT I and ABM agreements or alleged
Article XIII of the ABM Treaty created the SCC and defined its wideranging verification duties. The commission was to consider questions
concerning compliance that might be considered ambiguous. This
involved voluntarily providing information necessary to assure confidence and to resolve issues involving unintended interference with
national technical means of verification. And, as pertained to ABM sites,
the commission was to agree upon procedures and dates for destruction or dismantling of ABM systems or their components as provided for
by the treaty. The SCC organization included a commissioner and deputy
commissioner from each side to the SCC agreement and a staff adequate
to carry out assignments of the commission. The Soviets insisted that commission discussions and findings remain confidential; only items agreed
to by both sides could be made public. Although the SCC was often used
effectively, its emphasis on secrecy made it difficult to evaluate the commissions value.
In practice, however, both the United States and the Soviet Union
avoided using the SCCs broader mandates for verification and tended to
limit their discussions to issues of technical questions, especially regarding compliance with the ABM Treaty.37
* * *
Throughout the bilateral ABM negotiations, Safeguard soldiered on,
although as a gradually diminished program. In 1969, construction for
missile defense facilities had begun at 2, instead of the planned 12, Minuteman ICBM sites: Malmstrom Air Force Base (AFB), Montana and Grand
Forks AFB, North Dakota. With additional funding in 1970, construction
began at Whiteman AFB, Missouri and Francis E. Warren AFB, Wyoming. With the signing of the ABM Treaty in 1972, which restricted each
country to one antimissile site for the protection of ICBMs, Washington


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

decided to retain the nearly finished Grand Forks site. Work was halted at
Malmstrom, which was only 10 percent complete because of construction
difficulties, and at Whiteman and Warren. Two years later, Congress canceled much of the remaining Safeguard program but allowed work to continue at Grand Forks.
Safeguards basic design called for the actual ABM and radar sites
to be deployed several miles from their respective ICBM bases. On 400
acres near Nekoma, ND, were the missile site control buildingthe
largest structure on the site, which housed the radar and the computer
elements of the site and served as the command and control center; an
underground power plant adjacent to the missile site control building; a
missile launch field containing both Spartan and Sprint missiles; a missile
handling building; and a warhead handling building. Most of the missile
control building was underground, with only the radar faces and necessary electronic equipment above ground, resulting in an exposed concrete
pyramid reaching the height of 77 feet. The four remote Spartan/Sprint
missile sites, each containing 1216 missiles, were located in underground
cells from which they would be launched.
Some distance away from the basic missile site radar, a Perimeter Acquisition Radar (PAR) was constructed on 250 acres. The PAR building housed
the radar, data processing, command, and control elements. The radar itself
was contained in a 10-story concrete reinforced structure 130 feet high and
200 feet wide. The advantage of this huge radarlinked to the basic missile
site radarwas that it aided in simultaneous tracking of multiple objects.
In addition to locating and tracking incoming objects, it could predict the
point of impact through its data processor. With construction completed
on various buildings in 1972 and 1973, the entire facility was handed over to
the U.S. Army Safeguard Command on September 3, 1974, and the following spring when the Spartan and Sprint interceptor missiles were installed,
the complex was declared fully operational on October 1, 1975.38
Because of Safeguards technical limitations, however, the House of
Representatives, on October 2, 1975, voted to deactivate the ABM base at
Grand Forks, North Dakota. In 1976, after spending $6 billion, Congress
cut off funds for maintenance of Safeguards ABM system. This action followed realization that Safeguards large phased array radars provided
easy targets for Soviet missiles and also that when nuclear warheads on the
Spartan and Sprint missiles detonated, their explosions blinded the U.S.
radar system. Although much of the site was mothballed and the interceptor warheads removed, operation of the PAR unit was handed over to the
air force in October 1977 to provide additional missile early warnings and
was the only major facility of Safeguard to remain in operation.39
* * *
Ballistic missile defense programs underwent several phases during their
first three turbulent decades. There were several efforts by congressional

Missile Defense to ABM Diplomacy


and military officials to persuade succeeding presidents to deploy the current technology even though it was largely untested, or, if tested, often
found wanting. Although critics constantly pointed to the ineffectiveness
of the current devices, advocates of deployment argued that testing would
result in a constant upgrading of the deployed systems as research and
development corrected previous malfunctioning components. President
Johnson and Nixon succumbed to the political demands for deployment of
BMD systems only to have the critics assessments verified by the decision
to scrap the Safeguard system before its network was completed.
Although the Soviets were willing to discuss a total ban of BMD systems, American officials were not. Thus the resulting 1972 ABM Treaty
represented a compromise aimed at protecting the deterrence system.
Although Nixon and Kissinger ultimately decided that the value of the
Safeguard program was probably a bargaining chip for a reduction of
Soviet ICBMs, this did not happen. The SALT I agreement failed to result
in any reduction of either countrys ballistic missile arsenal. If the BMD
issue appeared to be decided by the ABM Treaty, this was not to be the
case. Like the phoenix, it would rise again.


The Strategic Defense Initiative:

From Reagan to G.H.W. Bush

Ronald Reagan came to the presidency in January 1981 convinced that the
United States was seriously endangered by the Soviet Unions rapidly expanding strategic forces and its widespread interventionist activities. His
public condemnation of the evil empire, endorsement of an expanded
U.S. military buildup, and a subsequent challenge to the 1972 antiballistic missile (ABM) Treaty heightened tensions greatly between the superpowers. The Reagan administration was dominated by hardliners who
opposed the idea of dtente and believed that arms control agreements
had given the Soviet Union undue advantages. Richard Pearle, later an
assistant secretary in the defense department, was one of the more colorful individuals who had little use for arms control and who made it clear
that he hoped to derail the ABM Treaty.1 In this regard, Reagan had never
supported any arms control treatyat least until he met the Soviet leader
Mikhail Gorbachev. By then, however, he had launched an ABM program
that would ultimately undermine the ABM treaty.
After closing down Nixons Safeguard system, Congress continued to
appropriate nearly $1 billion per year for research on various segments
of the ABM program, including technologies using computer software
and satellite surveillance systems. The army stressed research for nuclear
and nonnuclear missile defense systems designed to protect infantry from
short-range, low-altitude missiles or aircraft. These programs included
the Patriot system, an antiaircraft project that was eventually modified
into a theater missile defense system, which was initially pressed into
action during the first Gulf War. Since the ABM Treaty permitted laboratory research, rather exotic concepts could be explored. For example,

The Strategic Defense Initiative


the air force contracted for an experimental unmanned plane equipped

with solar power to carry kinetic-kill vehicles that would intercept and
destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) by colliding with them.
In theory, the unmanned plane would destroy ICBMs in their boost or
mid-course trajectory after they were launched from the Soviet Union.
The air force also experimented with space-based lasers, particle beams,
and other exotic methods for space-based missile defenses.2
Although President Nixon had suggested that future negotiations
might alter the 1972 ABM agreement, neither President Jimmy Carter nor
Soviet Premier Brezhnev considered any changes between 1977 and 1980.
In 1981, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger was briefed on ABM
experiments conducted during the Carter administration. Afterwards the
Pentagons Defense Science Board was charged with reviewing all existing U.S. defensive systems from fallout shelters to various technologies
on directed energy. In its report, the board concluded that current spacebased defenses were not technologically capable of providing a satisfactory missile defense system. The report did recommend, however, an
increase in Pentagon funds for civil defenses and low-altitude interceptors
such as the Patriot. In October 1981, the White House concluded that its
ballistic missile technology [was] not at the stage where it can provide
defenses against Soviet missiles. This finding, according to biographer
Lou Cannon, did not lessen Reagans vision of nuclear apocalypse and
his deeply rooted conviction that the weapons that could cause this hell on
earth should be abolished. Moreover, the president was morally opposed
to the U.S. 20-year-old deterrence doctrine, assured destruction, which his
administration had inherited.3
In early 1983, while being challenged by a grass-roots nuclear freeze
movement, Reagan prepared a speech in support of another increase in
the Defense Departments budget for fiscal year 1984. For more than a year
Americans and Europeans, including the American Council of Catholic
Bishops, had advocated a freeze on nuclear weapons production as a first
step to eliminate all nuclear warheads. Also, a congressional debate on
the nuclear freeze, which threatened the presidents requests for increases
in military expenditures, was scheduled for late March 1983. A public
opinion poll indicated in December 1982 that Reagans favorable rating
was only 41 percent, the lowest percentage for any president after two
years in office since 1945. Other polls in 1982 and January 1983 revealed
that 66 percent of Americans believed he had failed to promote arms control activities and, consequently, 70 percent supported the nuclear freeze
Meanwhile from 1979 to 1982, Republican Senator Malcolm Wallop from
Wyoming; Lt. General Daniel O. Graham (retired); Angelo Codevilla, a
staff assistant to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence; and Edward
Teller, of the University of California Lawrence Livermore Laboratories,
had been lobbying the Pentagon and Congress to fund various missile


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

defense projects. They vigorously urged approval of such concepts as

nuclear- and chemically based lasers, orbiting space-based battle stations
using lasers, and an improved air force space-aircraft. In February 1981,
Defense Secretary Weinberger had told the Senate Committee on Armed
Forces that the United States might be able to deploy MX [missiles] in
fixed silos protected by ABMs. Although advocates of antimissile systems
had prompted congressional and Pentagon discussion about various missile defense systems, apparently none of their ideas were directly related
to Reagans famous proposal in his March 1983 speech.5 Indeed, there are
several different versions of who and what influenced the speech.
On February 11, 1983, Reagan and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) met to
discuss the Pentagons list of five options to deal with the current strategic arms situation. One option was the missile defense system proposed
by Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral James Watkins. He argued that a
forward strategic ballistic missile defense would move battles from our
shores and skies. Such battles would be moral and palatable to the
American people because a missile defense system would protect Americans not just avenge them after a Soviet attack. Finally, Watkins said it
seemed realistic to have a long-range program to develop systems that
would defeat a missile attack. Despite Weinbergers opposition, Reagan
immediately gravitated to Watkinss concept of a missile defense, as it
could alleviate the need for nuclear deterrence.6
The basic text of Reagans March 23 speech, urging Congress to increase
defense funding, was prepared by McFarlane, other members of his
National Security Council staff, and Admiral Watkins. McFarlane was
concerned that Reagans congressional coalition that had supported his
earlier requests for increased military spending was crumbling. Consequently, he thought the Pentagons investment in futuristic antimissile
technology was appropriate. Watkins suggested an advanced directed
energy source, plus high-speed computers, might produce an experimental missile defense system that could be used as a bargaining chip to persuade Moscow to accept significant strategic arms reductions. When the
presidents science advisor George Keyworth II learned of the inclusion
of a missile defense plan, he opposed it because the White House Council
on Sciences panel of experts recently reported there was little possibility
in the foreseeable future for a successful missile defense based on directed
energy or other emerging technologies. Keyworth reluctantly withdrew
his objections after McFarlane informed him that the decision to propose a
missile defense system was a political, not a scientific, decision.7
According to Reagans autobiography, the president received a final
draft of the speech on March 22, and that night did a lot of rewriting.
Much of it was to change bureaucratese [sic] into people talk. In its finished form, his speech began with a lengthy section designed to persuade
Congress to approve a significant increase in funds for fiscal 1984 to continue the U.S. military buildup. As his speech drew to a close, Reagan told

The Strategic Defense Initiative


his audience about his recent discussions on missile defense. Then, after
noting the nations national security had previously depended on nuclear
deterrence and the threat of retaliation, Reagan continued:
Let me share with you a vision of the future which offers hope. It is that we embark
on a program to counter the awesome Soviet military threat with measures that
are defensive. . . . What if free people could live secure in the knowledge that their
security did not rest on the threat of instant U.S. retaliation to deter a Soviet attack,
that we could intercept and destroy strategic ballistic missiles before they reached
our own soil or that of our allies?

The president acknowledged this was a formidable task, but suggested

that current technology made it reasonable to begin the effort while pursuing reductions in nuclear arms.
Reagan recognized that pairing a defensive system
with our offensive missile systems could be viewed as an aggressive policy, and no
one wants that. But with those considerations firmly in mind, I call upon the scientific community in this country, who gave us nuclear weapons, to turn their great
talents to the cause of mankind and world peace, to give us the means of rendering
these weapons impotent and obsolete. Tonight, consistent with our obligations of
the ABM treaty and recognizing our need for closer consultation with our allies,
Im taking an important first step. I am directing a comprehensive and intensive
effort to define a long-term research and development program to begin to achieve
our ultimate goal of eliminating the threat posed by strategic nuclear missiles.8

Reagans belief that nuclear weapons could be made obsolete was

good news to most Americans. Yet the scientific community was baffled
about how to develop an ABM system that would find, track, intercept,
and destroy a multitude of incoming Soviet ICBMs and their warheads.
Less than a decade earlier, Congress had shut down the briefly deployed
Safeguard ABM system with its nuclear-armed interceptors because it
could not deal with the Soviet threat. During the intervening years, moreover, applicable science and technology had not changed significantly.
If the administration eventually labeled Reagans proposal the Strategic
Defense Initiative (SDI) in January 1984, critics who believed the president
had misled his listeners dubbed his idea Star Wars (after the then popular science fiction movie). Reagan, they claimed, had failed to apprise the
American people of the daunting technological realities confronting such
a project.
* * *
The informed response to Reagans proposal was, at best, mixed as individuals in and out of his administration registered their opinions. Undersecretary of Defense Richard Delauer, who endorsed funding for ABM
research, objected to nuclear policy being subjected to such a half-baked


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

political travesty. A commission headed by insider Brent Scowcroft

a retired generalissued a report on April 6, stating applications of current technology offer no real promise of being able to defend the United
States against massive nuclear attacks in this century. Similarly, the day
before Reagans speech, Major General Donald L. Lamberson, head of
the Pentagons directed-energy research told a Senate Armed Forces subcommittee that space-based weapons were not sufficiently promising to
warrant additional research funds. Because they were uncertain how to
respond to the proposed defense initiative, most congressional Republicans remained silent. When cornered by a reporter, Minority Whip
Robert Michel of Illinois said the speech may have been a bit of overkill, and worried that Americans might get an image of Republicans as
being rather macho on the defense budget. Democratic Congressman
Tom Downey of New York said the only thing Reagan did not tell us was
that the evil empire was about to launch a Death Star against the United
States. Time magazines lead story for April 4 perhaps best summed up
early skeptical reactions to the speech when it claimed Reagans proposal
was representative of a video-game vision. Times cover placed Reagans
picture against a background of space weapons resembling those from a
Buck Rogers comic strip about the 25th century.9
The Soviets were understandably upset by Reagans speech because it
called into question the status of the 1972 ABM Treaty. Attempting to minimize its significance, Michael Deaver, deputy chief of staff at the White
House, told Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin that the presidents call
for a missile defense program was simply a campaign effort to neutralize
the complaints of Democrats who had attacked Reagan as a warmonger.
Secretary of State George Shultz had met with Dobrynin shortly before
Reagans speech and gave the ambassador a copy of the text. Shultz told
Dobrynin that Reagan only wanted to promote research and development
of missile defense program and it would be in compliance with the 1972
ABM Treaty. But the text disturbed Dobrynin who told Shultz: You will
be opening a new phase in the arms race. Although Shultz had not participated in preparation of the speech, he thought Reagan should have
emphasized research and development for a missile defense system and
not suggested the United States was on the verge of a technological breakthrough, which it clearly was not.10 The SDI speech, however, did help
blunt the challenge posed by the nuclear freeze movement even though
Reagan did not mention missile defense during the 1984 election campaign. His opponent, Democratic candidate Walter Mondale, denounced
the Star Wars concept as a dangerous hoax costing American taxpayers
billions of dollars, speeding up the arms race, and providing no real protection for the American people.11
In the spring of 1983, the Pentagon called on two groups of expertsthe
Fletcher and Hoffman panelsto examine possible missile defense systems. James C. Fletcher, former director of the National Aeronautics and

The Strategic Defense Initiative


Space Agency, became chairman of a 65-member panel, 53 of whom had

direct financial interests in SDI research. He asked its members to plan a
missile defense capable of eliminating the threat of Soviet ICBMs. In early
1984, the panel proposed a multilayered system. The first layer, consisting
of space-based interceptors, would find and intercept ICBMs when they
were being launched, that is, during the initial boost phase. The second
layer, also space-based, would find, attack, and destroy the ICBMs during
their mid-course trajectory before they reentered the atmosphere above
American territory. Finally, a third and fourth layer of ground-based
antimissiles would use nuclear warheads to destroy any reentry vehicles
(warheads) that had escaped earlier interception. In addition, the panel
proposed a network of space-based radars, plus sensors, that could discriminate between decoys and warheads, and track the latter. To develop
this technology, the Department of Defense budget should include $1.78
billion for SDI research during the fiscal year 1985 in order to reach a decision on deploying a missile defense system in the early 1990s.12
The new head of the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO),
General James A. Abrahamson, declared that the Fletcher Reports antiballistic missile system would be 99.9 percent effective. Given the Soviet
Unions ability to attack the United States with some 10,000 warheads, even
this exceptionally optimistic percentage would still permit 100 warheads
to hit 100 American cities or ICBM silos. When former President Nixon
heard these numbers, he replied: With 10,000 of those things [nuclear
warheads] there is no defense. Former Defense Secretary Harold Brown
insisted that anything less than a perfect missile defense would only allow
the United States to protect a strategic retaliatory force; therefore, security
still rested on the deterrent scenarios of the 1970s.13
When Defense Department officials testified before the Senate Armed
Forces Committee, its chairman, Democratic Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia, asked them whether the SDI program was intended to be a population
defense or simply adding a defensive system arms race to our present,
substantially costly strategic offensive modernization program? Nunn
asked the Pentagon officials to clarify SDIs actual goal because some of
its technical experts had conceded that the objective of highly reliable
population defense is unattainable. Nunns question was never directly
answered during the committee hearings, although the Pentagons
ambiguous statements indicated the programs goal failed to include the
population defense that Reagan declared was its basic purpose. Yet other
administration officials continued to support Reagans view that SDIs
goal was to render obsolete the balance of terroror Mutual Assured
Destructionand it should never to be misconstrued as just another
attempt at protecting silos. In that vein, Weinberger stated on NBCs televised Meet the Press that: The defensive systems the president is talking about are not designed to be partial but should be reliable and total
missile defenses. George Keyworth explained to aerospace contractors


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

that only protecting weapons represents no change in recent [deterrence] policy. Protecting people, Keyworth emphasized, holds out the
promise of dramatic changes. Then, too, arose the perennial erroneous
assertionthis time put forward by Under Secretary of Defense Richard
DeLauer even though he could not validate his claimthat the Soviet
Union was far ahead in defensive missile technologies.14
At the same time in 1983 that the Fletcher panel was created, the Pentagon appointed a Future Security Strategy Study team, chaired by Fred S.
Hoffman, president of a defense consulting firm, to assess the role of the
nations strategic defenses. The Hoffman Commission also drew a majority from future SDI contractors17 of its 24 members. In early 1984, the
Hoffman Commission offered a more realistic appraisal of the SDI program. Rather than assume that a decision to deploy a missile defense
system should be made in the early 1990s, Hoffmans report concluded
that a perfect defense against enemy missiles might take a long time and
may prove to be unattainable in a practical sense against a Soviet effort to
counter the defense. The report said the presidents goal of defending the
nations population from ICBMs with nuclear warheads raised questions
about the Defense Departments readiness to defend against other threats,
notably an air attack by Soviet bombers and cruise missiles. In addition,
the report pointed out that the nuclear threat was not simply airborne,
because nuclear devices could be smuggled into the United States in suitcases carried by individuals arriving in the United States by airplanes,
passenger ships, or in automobiles driven across the Mexican or Canadian borders. Consequently, the panel recommended a comprehensive
review of air defense technologies, leading to the development of useful systems concepts. Because the Hoffman report failed to support the
Defense Departments desire to deploy an antiballistic missile system by
1990, both Weinberger and Keyworth chose to ignore it. They used the
Fletcher report to substantiate their contention that Reagans SDI was a
realistic goal.15
In yet another assessment, Senate legislative analysts Douglas C. Waller,
James T. Bruce, and Douglas Cook reported that the head of the Strategic
Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO), Lt. General James Abrahamson,
and other SDIO officials avoided the subject of an impenetrable shield to
protect all Americans in their briefings. Rather, they claimed the layered
SDI systems under consideration were effective enough in protecting cities to deter the Soviets from attacking in the first place. Reagan, meanwhile, wavered between asking for total umbrella defense and a partial
one. In a 1985 interview, the president claimed he never asked for a 100
percent accurate defense system, adding: If SDI is, say, 80 percent effective, then it will make any Soviet attack folly. Even partial success in SDI
would strengthen deterrence and keep the peace. This meant, of course,
that mutual assured destruction still dominated American and Soviet strategic policies.16

The Strategic Defense Initiative


Reagans vision of a missile defense system was essentially inspired by

personal preferences and domestic politics, not by a scientific or technological breakthrough, and sustained by pressure exerted by military chiefs,
congressional advocates, and the programs contractors. The SDI program
appeared to offer hope to Americans who, during the early 1980s, had
become alarmed about the dangers of a nuclear holocaust through the
nuclear freeze movement and television programs such as Nuclear Winter, The Day After, and Facing up to the Bomb. These shows depicted
the cruel consequences of a nuclear war that would result in the death of
untold millions of people and virtual destruction of Western civilization.
Some television and news magazines sought to allay fears of a nuclear
catastrophe by using animated explanations of SDIs proposed goals that
showed lifelike images of SDI lasers that always zapped incoming Soviet
missiles. These images reinforced the publics belief that Yankee ingenuity would quickly find the technology to abolish all threats of Moscows
nuclear warheads.17
* * *
In pursuit of Reagans vision and the objectives of the Fletcher panel, SDI
planners set about devising a series of layered defenses aimed at thinning
out the incoming offensive ballistic missiles and nuclear-armed warheads.
The first layer involved SDI sensors detecting ICBMs leaving their silos
and the immediate launching of missile interceptors to attack the enemy
missiles in their boost phase. The second layer of U.S. interceptors would
seek to destroy enemy warheads in the postboost, or bus deployment,

Table 2.1
Foreign Contractors for SDI by 1991
United Kingdom
West Germany

Value ($m.)

Includes $47.1 million contribution by Israel.

Includes $7.0 million contribution by the Netherlands.
Source: Status of Allied Contracts, SDIO viewgraph (Mar. 1991).


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

This diagram illustrates boost, midcourse, and terminal phases. (Courtesy:

Department of Defense)

phase. The third layer of interceptors would look for any deployed enemy
warheads during a mid-course phase before they entered the atmosphere.
Finally, a fourth layer of interceptors would sort out surviving warheads
from the decoys and debris during the terminal phase and destroy them.
Assuming it could be done, destroying enemy ICBMs in the brief initial
boost phase would provide the best opportunity for reducing the number
of incoming nuclear warheads. Once the boost phase passed, the postboost phase missiles (or buses) would continue to carry their warheads
and decoys until they reach their apogee 750 miles above the earth during which time a second U.S. layer of interceptors would try to find and
destroy the buses. The postboost period is the next best time to intercept
the nuclear warheads, because at its apogee the buses would adjust their
trajectory, and each could release up to 10 nuclear warheads, plus numerous decoys, all of which would begin descending toward selected targets
on earth.
The third layer of missile defense comes into play during the midcourse
phase after the buses release their warheads and decoys, but before these
objects reenter the earths atmosphere. This layer provides the antimissile
system its greatest amount of time, perhaps up to 20 minutes, to locate and
destroy the incoming warheads as they race through space at speeds of

The Strategic Defense Initiative


roughly 15,000 mph toward their targets. The interceptors, however, also
have to contend with decoys and space debris that could be mistaken for
enemy warheads. The final missile defense phase begins when warheads
and decoys reenter the atmosphere about 60 miles above the earth. During this phase, interceptors have only tens of seconds to find and hit the
warheads before they reach their targets. The one advantage for defensive
missiles at this stage is that the warheads skin is heated by friction while
decoys, presumably of lighter-weight, would slow down after they separate from the warhead.
It has been argued that for a BMD system to qualify for deployment,
it should effectively fulfill three tasks. First, the system should be able
to detect and identify enemy targets, that is, distinguish among ICBM
booster rockets, warheads, decoys, and debris. Second, the systems tracking devices should be able to locate and plot the trajectory of a target in
order to guide an interceptor missile to its target. Finally, a defense system should be able to assess the damage caused by the defensive weapon
to ensure the destruction of the booster rocket, bus, or warhead. This is
necessary so that defenders can determine whether they must launch
additional interceptors. Obviously such complex demands pose daunting
challenges to the scientists and technicians undertaking to develop and
test its components. It also requires substantial funding, much larger than
the estimates initially offered by the Reagan administration.18
Paul Nitze had presented a three-part formula that any SDI system
should also meet before it could be considered for deployment. The
Nitze criteria, as it was known, stated that the antimissile system
should (1) be effective, (2) be able to survive against a direct attack, and
(3) be cost effective at the marginthat is, cost less to increase ones
defense than its opponents costs to increase their offense against it.
Nitzes formula was adopted as National Security Directive No. 172 on
May 30, 1985, prompting James Schlesinger to fear that stressing cost
effectiveness would essentially kill the program.19
* * *
Reagan remained steadfastly committed to SDI, if inconsistent about its
objective, in spite of diplomatic, political, and technical challenges. As time
went on, the president described his program as though he already was
certain it was being accomplished. In 1987, he stated without qualification that American scientists could design and build a strategic defense.
Indeed, he declared: All humanity can begin to look forward to a new era
of security when the burden of nuclear terror is lifted from its shoulders.
Defense Secretary Weinberger echoed this enthusiasm and continued to
issue optimistic statements about progress being made in missile defense
research. But these claims were unfounded.20
Some of this enthusiasm undoubtedly stemmed from reports of the
SDIOs June 1984 test of the Homing Overlay Experiment (HOE). Using


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

the Armys Titan rocket to fire a non-nuclear homing device from Kwajalein atoll in the Pacific Ocean, the HOE allegedly hit and destroyed a
dummy reentry vehicle on an Atlas rocket launched from Vandenberg Air
Force Base, California. The HOE was a crude prototype of an exoatmospheric reentry interceptor subsystem (ERIS) designed to hit warheads
outside the atmosphere in the mid-course phase of their flight. After the
June test, the SDIO boasted that the HOE had demonstrated that a bullet hit a bullet in space, thereby ensuring that a strategic missile defense
would work. Claims of HOEs successes were excessive. Not only had the
test followed three failed attempts, but 10 years later even HOEs modest
success was qualified. In August 1993, a New York Times article reported
that former Reagan administration officials had acknowledged the 1984
HOE test was rigged to make the interceptor appear to have found and
destroyed the dummy warhead. For the test, officials heated the target
and turned it on its side to make it more visible to heat-seeking sensors.
These alterations made it easy for the interceptor to come close enough to
the target so that it appeared to have made a direct hit.21
Meanwhile, the Senate Defense Appropriations subcommittee ordered a
study of Pentagon officials assertions that incredible progress was being
made in SDI research. The subcommittees 1986 report and an updated
report issued in March 1987both prepared by senatorial staff members
Douglas C. Waller, James T. Bruce III, and Douglas M. Cookcould find
no significant technical breakthroughs. Both reports concluded that most
SDI scientists scoffed at the exaggerated claims about SDI progress made
by Weinberger and SDIO Director Lt. General James Abrahamson. The
scientists thought the hype about their program destroyed its scientific
credibility and created a backlash against their projects. Although some
progress had been made, many projects had proven ineffective including Malcolm Wallops concept of chemical lasers and Edward Tellers
nuclear-tipped or nuclear bomb pumped X-ray lasers and particle beams.
The exotic nuclear X-ray and bomb-pumped particle beam research had
failed to demonstrate any value and remained a dubious concept for the
foreseeable future. The value of space-based interceptors also appeared
questionable when scientists calculated that thousands of orbiting space
stations housing interceptors would be needed, as well as scores of other
space satellites for surveillance and tracking of enemy warheads. Waller
and his colleagues found that scientists had become increasingly aware of
the daunting problems involved in building an effective strategic missile
defense system.22
Despite these obstacles, Edward Teller, Eugene Rostow, and other SDI
proponents urged an early deployment of some segment of the SDI system. On January 22, 1987, Weinberger told a Colorado Springs audience:
Today we may be nearing the day when decisions about the deployment
of the first phase of strategic defenses can be made. We are now seeing
[more] opportunities for an early deployment of the first phase of strategic

The Strategic Defense Initiative


defenses than we previously thought.23 He concluded by assuring his

audience that the first phase was designed to be one piece of an entire
system that provides a thoroughly reliable defense for the free world.
Ignoring the skeptical Senate committee reports of 1986 and 1987, which
drew almost no media attention in the United States, many missile defense
enthusiasts pushed to speed up the deployment of a missile defense system so that some portion would be in place before Reagan left office.
In December 1986 and during 1987, the SDIO had redirected its technologies and research funds in the hope of being able to deploy an SDI
system by 1988. Abrahamson also diverted secret black funds, first allocated for a mid-1990s SDI space-based system, to finance an ERIS type
of ground-based interceptor system. Senator Sam Nunn and other members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, as well as JCS Chairman
Admiral William Crowe, became alarmed by the push to deploy a Phase
One SDI system of questionable reliability. Crowe took steps to prevent
any deployment unless the antimissile system obtained approval from
the Defense Acquisition Board and the Defense Science Board. Initially,
the Acquisitions Board set a minimum of 30 percent effective ratio for the
number of enemy missiles to be killed before it recommended deployment of any antiballistic missile system. Abrahamson testified that SDIs
Phase One system could meet the 30 percent criteria and be deployed
by 1994, but he also admitted the system could protect only a few military
installations, not population centers. Phase One cleared the Acquisitions
Board, but after members of the Science Board examined the system, they
recommended withholding approval of Phase One until the SDIO filled
the gaps in the system design and technologya recommendation that
the Acquisitions Board accepted and subsequently withdrew its approval
for deploying Phase One.24
In the political arena, meanwhile, Weinberger and other White House
hardlinerswho wished to scrap the 1972 ABM Treaty that they saw
as prohibiting the development and testing of a space-based defense
systemundertook to reinterpret the treaty. On October 6, 1985, National
Security Advisor Robert McFarlane told NBCs Meet the Press that
the ABM Treaty allowed development and research of a missile defense
system that involved new physical concepts. He also argued that the
treaty permitted the testing of exotic systems and technologies, presumably lasers and particle beams. McFarlanes statement promptly drew
extensive protests from congressional supporters of the ABM Treaty and
Americas European allies. West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher wrote personal letters to Reagan
criticizing his acceptance of McFarlanes interpretation of the ABM Treaty.
After endorsing McFarlanes broad interpretation, Secretary of State
Shultz sought to allay the mounting criticism by adding that the United
States would limit SDI development and testing in accordance with the
traditional interpretation.25


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

The State Departments legal advisor, Abraham D. Sofaer, argued that

the classified ABM treaty negotiation record and treaty provisions showed
its language to be ambiguous and that the record of Senate ratification supported the broader view. He also claimed, without providing any substantiation, that the Soviet Union never accepted a ban on mobile ABM systems
or on exotic technologies and that Soviet ABM research was similar to SDI
projects. Later when challenged about key omissions and misrepresented
statements from the unclassified ratification records, Sofaer was forced to
acknowledge that the ratification records did not support the broad interpretation and blamed the errors on young lawyers on his staff.
The highly respected chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sam Nunn, labeled Sofaers argument as sadly indicative of the kinds
of half-truths, misrepresentations, and unsubstantiated assertions that
have emanated from the Office of Legal Advisor since the beginning of the
controversy. In rebuttal, Sofaer insisted the president had wide latitude to
disregard many of the explanations provided to the Senate during the ratification proceedings. This claim directly challenged the Senates role in the
treaty-making process. Thus when leaks to the media in early 1987 suggested that the administration might be contemplating expanded SDI tests
and a partial SDI deployment in violation of the traditional interpretation
of the ABM Treaty, Nunn warned the president that any such undertakings
would cause a constitutional confrontation of profound dimensions.
After a series of studies concluded Sofaers legal reasoning was in serious error, Nunnjoined by Senator Carl Levin of Michigansponsored
an amendment to a defense authorization bill prohibiting any SDI testing
that challenged the traditional interpretation of the ABM Treaty prohibitions. After a sharp partisan debate and an extended Republican filibuster, a modified version of the Nunn-Levin wording was approved in late
1987.26 The broad interpretation was never formally revoked by the White
House, however, until the Clinton administration rejected it in July 1993.
After Reagans reelection in November 1984, many top administration
officials, while supportive of the SDI program, realized that a reliable system was some years away. Consequently, several of the presidents more
moderate advisors, such as Robert McFarlane and Secretary Shultz, hoped
that delaying any deployment might be used as a bargaining chip to gain a
reduction of Soviet strategic weapons. In this vein, Shultz told Reagan that
such a concession would be like giving them the sleeves off our vest.27 The
presidents refusal to accept any compromise regarding his SDI program,
however, would conflict with his belated diplomatic efforts to achieve a
reduction in nuclear weaponry. Indeed, Reagan along with many of his
key aides had little regard for the post-World War II arms control accords.
In his first term, the president initially stressed expanding U.S. military
strength because he believed the Soviets could not keep pace. Then, Reagan
insisted, they will have to weigh, do they want to meet us realistically on a
program of disarmament or do they want to face a legitimate arms race.

The Strategic Defense Initiative


President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev discussed

arms reductions at Geneva in November 1985 and at Reykjavik, Iceland
in October 1986. At the final scheduled session in Reykjavik, Reagan
offered sweeping U.S. proposals to eliminate all nuclear warheads by
2000. The presidents advisors, confident the Soviet leader would reject
them, had devised these proposals. Surprising everyone, Gorbachev
responded yes. He would accept Reagans proposal provided the
president agreed to limit SDI research to laboratories for at least five
years. Reagan rejected Gorbachevs offer, saying he would never surrender development of his antimissile program. At 6:30 P.M., Reagan closed
his briefing book and said Lets go George [Shultz], were leaving. As
they walked out of the conference room Gorbachev asked, Cant we do
something about this? Reagan replied, Its too late. On returning home
from Iceland, Reagans aides undertook a propaganda blitz to emphasize
that the Soviets concern about SDI proved it was essential. But when
the final summit records were disclosed in the 1990s, it was clear that
Reagan walked away from an opportunity to reach agreements reducing
or eliminating intermediate- and long-range ballistic missiles.28 History
will not easily decide who made the worse blunder, Reagan for rejecting
Gorbachevs counter offer, or Gorbachev for not accepting Reagans initial offer outright. Had the two leaders agreedand gained the support
of their respective defense officials, both civilian and militarynuclear
weapons could have been substantially reduced by 2000.

Soviet Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev (right) and President Reagan (left).

(Courtesy: Ronald Reagan Library)


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

When the two leaders met again at Washington, DC, the SDI program no
longer blocked an agreement eliminating intermediate-range missiles
the INF [Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces] Treaty. The December 1987
summit succeeded largely because Andrei Sakharov had persuaded Gorbachev that U.S. defenses could never stop a full-scale attack by ICBMs
carrying multiple warheads. Sakharov argued that SDI should not be
linked to progress in efforts to limit nuclear weapons, because it was a
kind of Maginot line in space, a line that could not stop ICBM attacks
anymore than the French Maginot line stopped the Germans blitzkrieg
in 1940. While Reagans apostles have claimed that Gorbachevs lack of
military funds had ended the Soviet link between missile reductions and
SDI, it is more likely that Sakharovs February 1987 criticism, in tandem
with other Soviet scientists, lifted the veil on SDI that was hidden in plain
sight. Several Soviet scientists had long realized SDI was a fuss about
nothing. As Roald Z. Sagdeyev, the head of the Soviet Institute for Space
Research told Strobe Talbott, We came to realize that we had not helped
ourselves by screaming so much about SDI. We had encouraged some
Americans to think that anything the Russians hate cant be all bad. And
we had overestimated how much damage SDI could do to strategic stability in the short run and even in the medium term.29
* * *
To allay NATOs concerns about the U.S. ballistic missile defense activities, Secretary of Defense Weinberger solicited SDI contracts with Americas
allies. It was hoped that this process would be a means of gaining technical
knowledge that might not only assist the SDI program, but also advance
NATOs defense preparations. During the mid-1980s, NATO sought to
improve the defense of Western Europe against Soviet combat aircraft,
bombers, and intermediate- and short-range missiles. In addition, the U.S.
Army was spending $9.3 billion to deploy a Forward Air Defense system
in Europe and modernize its North American early warning system.
During 1984, West German Defense Minister Worner proposed research
for a European Defense Initiative to include antitactical ballistic missiles
(ATBM). The goal was to provide Europe with a ballistic missile defense
system similar to Americas SDI, but the proposed initiative never reached
beyond the level of discussions and debates among European defense
ministers. Because of a lack of interest and financial support, the initiative
was dropped in favor of concentrating on the ATBM system that eventually obtained funds for research and development from Americas SDI
In March 1985, Defense Secretary Weinberger invited 18 allied nations
to compete for SDI contracts with U.S. companies and research institutes.
Following the invitation, he and his staff negotiated a Memorandum of
Understanding with interested nations. Weinberger and British Minister of
Defense Michael Heseltine signed the first such agreement on December 8,

The Strategic Defense Initiative


1985 and, in the next two years, Weinberger signed agreements with Israel,
West Germany, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Japan,
and France. Among the 10 countries signing SDI agreements, Israel, Britain, and West Germany received the most money from SDIO between 1985
and 1990. Israels funds were primarily used for flight tests and production
of the Arrow as an ATBM system to defend against Scud missiles and other
types of intermediate- and short-range missiles. Both Britain and West Germany used SDI funds to develop ATBMs that had non-nuclear warheads
intended to destroy Soviet short- and intermediate-range missiles or cruise
missiles launched by Soviet bombers. In Britain, 12 of its 14 SDIO contracts
were to study allied architecture for ATBMs. The other two contracts were
for NATOs Extended Air Defense System. It should be noted that Europeans were not awarded contracts for research that the SDIO classified as
Initially, France rejected contracts for SDI research because it had
designed a system called Eureka as an ATBM system and looked to other
European nations for funds to continue their research. In 1988, after failing to get financial assistance from other European states, France accepted
$13 million of SDI funds for research to assist its ATBM system. Other
NATO members and Japan used SDI money for their own ATBM system
research. The SDI funds were not evenly distributed. Israels Arrow program received more than any other nation including twice as much as the
total received by Britain and West Germany.30
The U.S. initial efforts to interest other NATO members in its SDI programs was relatively short lived. It has been suggested, since allied technology could contribute little to the Americas SDI program, the main
purpose of the endeavor was alliance management. Accordingly, Washingtons principal motivation was to create the illusion of a partnership
that would lessen European concerns about Americas development of
an antimissile shield. Also, there was fear in several NATO capitals that
should the SDI program prove successful it might antagonize the Soviets, make achievement of new arms control accords more difficult and
find the Americans less interested in the fate of NATO. Allied political
endorsements for Washingtons antimissile programs were lukewarm at
best and, perhaps as a result, the promise of substantial funding that allied
businesses sought never materialized. In any event, by the early 1990s the
U.S.s European allies showed less interest in antitactical missiles because
of the INF pact and the Conventional Forces in Europe negotiations that
yielded a treaty between members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact.31
* * *
Many professional Cold War hawks, blinded by their ideological bent,
refused to admit that the arms control and dtente policies of Reagan,
Bush, and Gorbachev were responsible for the end of the Cold War. After
1991, Gates and Weinberger, as well as such pundits as George Will and


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

Irving Kristol, argued that the Reagan administrations military build-up

and SDI program had played the dominate role in the collapse of the Soviet
Union. Although this notion received extensive publicity during the 1990s,
respected scholars investigating U.S.-Soviet relations have since dismissed
such claims as much oversimplified.32 Closer to reality was President
George H.W. Bushs recollection of his 1990 trip to Eastern Europe where
he saw the many uplifted bright faces in Warsaw, Gdansk, Prague, and
Budapest where communist power was ended in 1989 with the support of
Gorbachev. This was their victory. We all were winners, East and West.
Bush believed his relations with Gorbachev smoothed developments at a
critical time. These changes were the culmination of many years of efforts
by many people, both in the United States and elsewhere. . . . From those
who served in our military to those who . . . implemented policy across
succeeding administrations, all had a hand in bringing the Cold War to a
peaceful conclusion.33
The transition in 1988 and 1989 from Reagan to Bush was not as smooth
as might have been expected. Bush immediately put in place a new national
security and foreign policy team consisting of James A. Baker III as secretary of state, Brent Scowcroft as his national security advisor, and Richard
Cheney as secretary of defense.34 The Soviet Unions demise, culminating in December 1991, coupled with the Reagan administrations failed
effort to deploy a missile defense program, allowed Bush to modify SDIs
design. Instead of seeking an umbrella, they shifted research activities to
a new program, Global Protection Against Limited Strikes (or GPALS),
designed to defend the country from a possible missile attack by a rogue
nation or an accidental Russian or Chinese missile launch.
The BMD programs survival was due more to skilled lobbying and
continued Pentagon subsidies to companies holding contracts for research
and development of exotic technology than to successful antimissile tests
or a fearful American public. Since the 1960s, Pentagon contracts had
branched out from major contractors such as Boeing, Lockheed-Martin,
TRW, and Hughes Aircraft to include subcontractors scattered widely in
a number of states whose congressional representatives could be counted
on to keep missile defense contracts renewed and profitable.35
Within one month of Bushs inauguration on January 20, 1989, SDIO
chief, General Abrahamson, retired, but his final report urged a new
method for creating space-based defenses against Soviet ICBMs. Known
as Brilliant Pebbles (BP), Abrahamson calculated it would be less costly
and more successful in destroying ICBMs in their initial boost phase or
mid-course phase of flight. The BP system, devised by Edward Teller and
his protg, Lowell Wood, consisted of several thousand small interceptor
sensors deployed in space orbits above the earth. Each pebble would
contain computerized data so that after a pebble detected an ICBM, its
sensors would locate the target and send a vehicle to destroy the ICBM by
ramming it at high speed. Abrahamson calculated the BP system would

The Strategic Defense Initiative


cost $25 billion, be proved viable in two years, and be ready to deploy in
three more years, that is, by 1994.
Meanwhile, the JCS sought to drop the Reagan administrations plans
for an early deployment of Phase One in 1993 because the ERIS system
had failed to show it could intercept missiles in space. During the spring of
1989, the JCS recommended cuts in SDI expenditures and suggested that
Bush return to the traditional interpretation of the ABM Treaty. The JCS
also wanted to end Reagans linkage of Strategic Arms Reductions Talks
(START) with the SDI program in the continuing Geneva negotiations.
Bush rejected the Joint Chiefs call for SDI reductions, initially vowing to
retain Reagans broad interpretation of the ABM Treaty and allocating $33
billion for SDI over the next five years. He would, however, later sign a
START I treaty, without restrictions on the SDI program. To accelerate BP
research and development, SDIO shifted funds from Phase One research
to the BP program. These funds would help the SDIO determine BPs ability to intercept ICBMs in their boost or mid-course phase before a missiles
nuclear warheads reentered the atmosphere.
Lt. General George L. Monahan, now head of SDIO, decided to concentrate on BP as the Phase Two system, with the goal of being deployed
by 1994. Unfortunately, BP research proved not only to be more costly
than estimated, but less likely to function as envisioned. Each BP was initially conceived as weighing about five pounds, but by the end of 1990
each pebble weighed 100 pounds and was three feet long. The revised cost
estimate increased from $100,000 to $1.5 million for each pebble, and its
architecture required about 2,000 ground-based interceptors to back up to
the space-based BP system. In addition to the Pebbles problems, the ERIS
interceptor system remained unreliable. ERIS had passed one test by hitting a mock warhead, but two months later it failed a similar test.36
In his January 1991 State of the Union speech, Bush finally proposed a
smaller nationwide defense system designed to protect the United States
from an accidental Soviet launching of up to 200 nuclear warheads or
an attack by a so-called rogue nation such as Iraq, Iran, or North Korea.
This smaller system, GPALS, would combine 1,000 BPs with 500 or more
ground- and sea-based missile interceptors carrying non-nuclear warheads
with hit-to-kill technology. GPALS was a scaled down version of Reagans
SDI program and, unlike Reagans early SDI program, was intended to
use non-nuclear interceptors. Bushs new program, however, required an
array of untested parts. To promote the presidents plan, Republican Senators William Cohen of Maine and John Warner of Virginia, joined by Democrat Sam Nunn, obtained a bipartisan consensus to fund a missile defense
system of 700 to 1,200 ground-based interceptors at five to seven sites that
would provide at least some protection against incoming missiles. In
early January 1991, Congress approved the compromise proposal.37
The linkage of the SDIs ballistic missile defense program to the armys
Patriot missile defense system during the first Gulf War was more the


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

result of enthusiasm than knowledge of the two programs. The Patriot

was initially planned as a mobile tactical antiaircraft defense to protect
battlefield forces. Its tests in 1983 and 1984 uncovered faulty connections
and electronic modules. After these problems were resolved, Patriots
software was upgraded sufficiently for a successful PAC-1 test. After 15
additional tests, the Defense Department approved the upgraded PAC-2
for production by the Raytheon Company late in 1988. After Iraq invaded
Kuwait on August 2, 1990, Raytheon speeded up delivery of Patriots to
defend military bases as well as urban areas.38
During the brief war, Iraq launched upgraded, short-range Scud missiles with conventional warheads at Saudi Arabia and Israel where they
challenged deployed Patriot missiles. The president and others subsequently exaggerated the Patriots success. On a February 15 tour of Raytheon, Bush praised the Patriot for its high-tech wizardry. He claimed
that when the first Scud was launched at Saudi Arabia, the Patriot struck
it down and with the arrival of Patriot ballistic missiles in Israel, all told,
Patriot is 41 for 42; 42 Scuds engaged, 41 intercepted. This was proof
positive that missile defense works, according to the president. SDI supporters hailed the Patriot as demonstrating the validity of Reagans vision.
Columnist Patrick Buchanan wrote: Using SDI technology, the United
States has shown it can attack and kill ballistic missiles. Statements by
Bush, Buchanan, and other SDI proponents persuaded many in Congress
to renew their support for a BMD system.39
Theodore Postol, a missile expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studied videos of Patriot-Scud engagements in Israel and Saudi
Arabia. Supplemented by reports from Israels newspaper Maariv, whose
information on Scuds was confirmed by Reuven Pedatzur, a missile expert
at Tel Aviv University, Postol provided details about Scud and Patriot collateral damage resulting when Scuds, and Patriot missiles that missed Scuds,
exploded over Israeli or Saudi territory. Of 40 Scuds targeted for Israel, 24
were aimed at Tel Aviv. Before the Patriots arrived in Israel, 13 Scud attacks
killed no one, wounded 115 people, and damaged 2,698 apartments. After
Patriots arrived, 16 Scuds detonated near and in Tel Aviv, killing one person, wounding 168 people, and damaging 7,778 apartments, thus doubling
Israeli injuries and tripling apartment damage. If the Patriot miracle
had involved the use of nuclear warheads, the consequences would have
been catastrophic. Postol surprised members of the House Armed Services
Committee on April 16, 1991 by suggesting that the Patriots may have done
more harm than good. Despite the Patriots salutary political effect in keeping Israel from retaliating, he argued the military results showed they had
proved to be an ineffective defense system. He also refuted wartime reports
suggesting that the Patriot would be a successful SDI system capable of
protecting the nation against strategic ballistic missiles.
Postols findings were challenged. Robert Stein of Raytheon claimed the
Patriot was 80 percent accurate in Saudi Arabia and 50 percent accurate in

The Strategic Defense Initiative


Israel. He argued Israeli apartment damages were slight and the Scud
was a difficult target to hit. Using data from Israels Ministry of Health,
Stein claimed the apartment damage would have been greater if Scuds
had detonated on the ground. He insisted Raytheon could improve the
Patriot to produce a long-range antimissile defense system for the army. In
April 1992, Army Brigadier General Robert Drolet told the House committee that Bush was correct in stating on February 15, 1991 that the Patriots
intercepted 41 of 42 Scuds fired by that date. Drolet said intercepted
meant that a Patriot and a Scud passed in the sky. As members of the
House Government Operations subcommittee noted, Drolets definition
of intercepted was unique if he meant that having passed in the sky
was equal to successfully destroying a Scud.40 Despite mounting evidence
questioning claims of the Patriots success, Raytheons Washington lobbying law firm accused Postol and others of being captives of anti-SDI
missile groups such as San Franciscos Ploughshare Fund. These lobbyists
depicted Postols analysis as snake oil and sloppy as s, even though
Princeton University physicist Frank von Hippel described Postol as one
of the strongest analysts in this game, and hes right on this one.
For two years after the April 1992 hearings, the Patriots status continued
to be debated. The Israeli Air Force investigated the Patriots war record and
concluded that there is no clear evidence of even a single successful intercept of an Iraqi Scud by the Patriot missiles. There was, however, circumstantial evidence of one possible intercept. The report indicated that 8 of
the 56 Patriot missiles launched in Israel malfunctioned and crashed to the
ground, and 11 missiles were fired at targets that did not exist. In its summation, the Israeli report listed three reasons for the Patriots failure. First,
it had been developed as an antiaircraft system; second, the Scuds traveled
much faster than any aircraft, and they often tumbled or disintegrated when
they entered Israeli air space; and third, the Patriots fuse and warhead system could not cope with the Scuds high speeds. A 1992 U.S. Government
Accounting Office (GAO) report found that at best nine percent of the
Patriot-Scud engagements had strong evidence that there was a warhead
kill, which meant that no more than four Patriots hit their target. In brief,
the wartime claims of the Patriots success were erroneous and raised questions about the veracity of initial official claims. On the 10th anniversary of
the Patriots combat debut in the Gulf War, Secretary of Defense William S.
Cohen echoed the criticisms of the missiles performance. Although advocating increased funding for missile defense research, Cohen told reporters
that in January 1991 the Patriot didnt work.41
* * *
Before the postwar disclosures about Patriots military ineffectiveness,
Congress had approved the Missile Defense Act of 1991 to increase SDI
funding for fiscal 1992 and to provide for additional Patriot research and
development. The act also called for deploying 100 ground-based ballistic


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

missile interceptors at a single site within five years. One site would not
violate the 1972 ABM Treaty, but would be the first step toward multiple
missile defense sites that would require U.S. negotiations with the Soviet
Union to obtain permission for any additional ground-based sites.42 Yet
while the Missile Defense Act was being considered, the House Subcommittee on Legislation and National Security conducted hearings regarding
the effectiveness of the SDI program. Congressman John Conyers Jr. of
Michigan, chairman of the subcommittee, opened the hearings declaring
that over the past eight years, the administration had been successful in
convincing Congress to give it billions of dollars for Star Wars, but the
program proved remarkably unsuccessful in producing much of anything
with the funds. It was, he said, the subcommittees purpose to find out
what had been done with the $24 billion Congress authorized for SDI during the last eight years. Today, Conyers said, we are beginning our
investigation into where all the money went. What is known is that
scattered around the country are dozens of test facilities, half-completed
projects, hundreds of reports, and the swollen bank accounts of a handful
of contractors and dozens of consulting firms that now specialize in getting contracts for the SDI program. We also know that we are no closer
to making nuclear weapons . . .obsolete than we were 8 years ago when
President Reagan launched this wild goose chase.
In response, the Republicans senior subcommittee member Congressman Frank J. Horton of New York acknowledged, we are at a crucial
crossroads with the Presidents Strategic Defense Initiative. But Horton
sought to reestablish SDIs value, explaining that what existed was the
classic glass half empty and half full problem. He cited SDI programs
1987 change to the Phase I project concentrating on the deterrent effect of
SDI rather than a nationwide defense against ICBMs and President Bushs
change to the Brilliant Pebbles and Global Protection Against Limited
Strikes program. Rather than a glass half-empty, Horton saw a normal
progression of a substantial research and development program as a glass
half full.
When Conyerss subcommittee reconvened in October 1991, it heard
testimony and received reports from supporters and critics of SDI and its
later incarnation as GPALS. Among the opponents of the existing antimissile program were Bruce Blair of The Brookings Institution and John Pike
of the Federation of American Scientists. Pike dismissed as unwarranted
the fear of an accidental or unintended launching of long-range missiles
from Soviet ICBMs or Soviet submarines. He also offered detailed reasons
why Third World nations such as Iraq were not genuine threats to the
United States. Pike agreed that the United States should continue missile
defense research to explore the potential contribution of these technologies to our national security. But, he continued, the prospects that an
antimissile shield might be needed in this century are so remote that there
is no reason, other than political expediency, for proceeding now with

The Strategic Defense Initiative


deployment of such a system. Pike concluded that none of the threats

advanced justified spending billions of dollars and tearing up the ABM
In contrast, Keith Payne, a consultant at the White House on science and
technology for the Reagan and Bush administrations, argued that many
Third World countries could ultimately construct long-range ICBMs capable of carrying nuclear warheads. He specifically pointed to Scud missiles
whose range Iraq had extended and could further extend in the future.
Payne also mentioned Chinas CSS-4 missile that had a range of 8,000
miles. Among other Third World parties who dislike America, he cited
Pakistan, Iran, and Libya as nations who might obtain long-range missiles
during the 1990s. Payne concluded that when threats of the late 1990s
and early 21st century are considered, initiating deployment of GPALS is
not only reasonable, but essential for future U.S., Allied and Soviet security. No alternative to missile defense, alone or in combination, will constitute a reliable response to emerging missile threats.43
The GAO, however, reported in March 1992 that GPALS had failed to
develop a stable architecture and the BP system faced tremendous challenges before it could become a viable space defense system. A short
time later, the Senate Armed Forces Committee learned that the experimental ERIS interceptors built by Lockheed-Martin had experienced serious problems. After January 1991, ERIS had reduced the weight of the
original ERIS package from 544 to 73 pounds, prompting Pentagon officials to tell the Senate Committee that 100 ERIS interceptor missiles could
be deployed by 1996. Two months later, one ERIS missile test hit a mock
warhead but in subsequent tests it failed to hit other targets because of
technical errors.44 In September 1992, the GAO released a review of
seven tests by the interceptors between January 1990 and March 1992. The
success of four of the tests, it declared, were exaggerated and three other
tests were either failures or only partly successful. No BP test had succeeded despite official claims of achieving their main objective. Even in
the alleged success of the January 1991 test, ERIS failed to discriminate
between a warhead and the decoys as the SDIO claimed.45 Combined with
the exaggerated claims about the Patriot missile, the GAOs report demonstrated that despite eight years of research and testing, the antimissile
programs had achieved few positive results.
Meanwhile, Russian President Boris Yeltsin had proposed to the United
Nations Security Council in January 1992 the deployment of a global
system of protection that would be based on a revised SDI system and
advanced technologies developed by Russias military-industrial complex.
With these ideas in mind, Yeltsin attended a summit with Bush on June 17
in Washington DC during which they issued a statement that committed them to cooperate in developing a Global Protection System (GPS)
that Yeltsin referred to as a Global Defense Systemand to coordinate the
defense system with other interested nations. Both leaders believed the


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

GPS could be achieved outside of, but consistent with, the ABM Treaty.
During the summit, Bush and Yeltsin also agreed to cooperate in ballistic
missile technology to explore the possibility of sharing data on a BMD
early warning system and to develop a legal basis for implementing a
GPS. Although the Bush-Yeltsin agreement on GPS resulted in meetings
between U.S. Special Envoy Dennis Ross and Russian diplomat Georgi
Mamedov, President Clinton ended the Ross-Mamedov talks in favor of
negotiations to clarify interpretations of the 1972 ABM Treaty.46
* * *
Even though Reagans SDI did not result in the immediate deployment
of a ballistic missile defense system, it did generate renewed interest in
antimissile programs. More than that, Reagans SDI proposal left a legacy
that found roots deep in the Republican Partys political ideology. This
legacy would play a major role in future attempts to terminate the ABM
Treaty and to deploy a nationwide antimissile system.


Politics of Missile Defense

Deployment: From William
Clinton to George W. Bush

President William (Bill) Clinton confronted a series of issues related to U.S.

missile defense priorities, but he succeeded initially in limiting their costs
and scope. After Clintons election in 1992, the administration sought to
defuse the threat of recalcitrant states, to persuade the reluctant Russians
to amend the Antiballistic Missile (ABM) treaty in order to allow expanded
U.S. antimissile testing, and to decide whether any missile defense systems were ready for deployment. Clinton appointed former Congressman
Les Aspin as secretary of defense, and a former aide to President Carter,
Warren Christopher, as secretary of state. Having previously chaired the
House Armed Services Committee, Aspin had decided views on missile defense that led him to often criticize the Reagan and G.H.W. Bush
programs as fiscally extravagant. After a review of the Strategic Defense
Initiative Organizations (SDIO) programs, the SDIO was restructured as
the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) on May 13, 1993 and
charged with centralizing management of all missile defense projects.
Announcing the newly named agency, Aspin declared the end of the
Star Wars era and stated that Americas missile defense research and
development would no longer focus on space-based weapons. The
new BMDO shifted funds to research and development of theater missile
defenses (TMDs) to protect army, navy, and air force forces and bases in
battlefield areas, for a land-based national missile defense (NMD) system
designed to protect against accidental or unauthorized intercontinental
ballistic missile (ICBM) launches or attacks from Russia or China, and
for continued research on advanced technology for future TMD or NMD


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

systems. From 1993 through 1995, Congress authorized about $9.2 billion
for these projects.
In the 1994 mid-term elections, meanwhile, the Republicans gained control of Congress and focused attention on missile defense. They believed
this would provide their candidates in the 1996 elections with a strong,
possibly deciding, issue if they could demonstrate that the Democrats
were soft on defense. Consequently, it soon became evident that the Missile Defense Act of 1991, part of the National Defense Authorization Act
for fiscal years 19921993 and signed into law by President George H. W.
Bush, had been merely a truce between contending parties. The act called
for deployment at the earliest date allowed by the availability of appropriate technology or by fiscal year 1996 a cost-effective, operationally effective, and ABM Treaty-complaint antiballistic missile system at a single site
as the initial step toward deployment.1
* * *
In control of both the House and Senate for the first time since 1954,
the Republicans attributed their success to campaign pledges contained
in their 1994 Contract with America that among other issues reflected
a deep commitment to a nationwide missile defense system. The contract
called for deploying a cost effective, operational antiballistic missile
defense system as early as possible to protect the United States against
ballistic missile threats (for example, accidental or unauthorized launches
or Third World attacks). While their goals were the same as Clintons, the
Republicans demanded the imminent deployment of existing antimissile
systems. Consequently, the contract insisted that the 1972 ABM Treaty was
a Cold War relic that does not meet the future defense needs of the United
States. . . . It is a moral imperative that U.S. strategic defenses be expanded
and that the Clinton administration not yield to Russian demands that
Americans remain defenseless in the face of potential nuclear aggression.
That the new speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich of Georgia, stressed
a renewed commitment to a National Missile Defense revealed how
enmeshed in the Republican Partys political pantheon the issue had
Imbued with an exaggerated illusion that technology could create a new
defensive shield to provide the protection that historically had been provided by two oceans, the Republican congressional majority presented the
administration with a series of partisan challenges from 1995 to 2000 over
missile defense issues. For example, in 1995, the Republicans passed the
Defend America Act mandating deployment of a national missile defense
system by 2003 while research would continue on more sophisticated
technology to provide improved missile defense coverage. This action
occurred despite a National Intelligence Estimate of November 1995 that
stated no Third World country currently had missiles capable of hitting the
United States and would not possess them in less than 15 years. Clinton

Politics of Missile Defense Deployment


vetoed the bill, however, and the Republicans lacked the necessary votes
to override it. The president did accept Republican legislation, however,
that authorized $745 million for missile defense programs, doubling the
$371 million the Pentagon requested for fiscal 1996.3
To counter these partisan pressures, the administration sponsored a
three-plus-three plan for deploying a missile defense system (discussed
later). The plan would devote three years to research and testing and, if the
tests were satisfactory, a missile defense system would be produced and
deployed in another three years if it complied with the ABM Treaty. The
proposed system would consist of 20 ground-based interceptors capable
of destroying a few ICBMs launched either accidentally or by the so-called
rogue statesIran, Iraq, and North Korea. During the 1996 presidential
election campaign, Republican candidate Senator Robert Dole of Kansas
continued to challenge the administration by embracing the Defend America Act in the hope of attracting security-conscious voters. But the Defend

Illustration of Clintons National Missile Defense concept. (Courtesy: Coalition to

Reduce Nuclear Dangers)


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

America Act failed to generate much enthusiasm among voters and Clinton simply ignored Doles insistence on the need for a national missile
defense. Public opinion polls indicated that most Americans, apparently
confused about its capabilities, thought the 1991 Patriot missile system
provided an adequate defense. In brief, Clinton won the 1996 election on
domestic issues and was able to postpone a decision on deploying an antimissile system.4
Congressional efforts to gain deployment of antimissile systems had
the active support of those industries involved in the research and development of these programs. In addition to parceling out subcontracts to
companies in as many congressional districts as possible, these industries
also used fear tactics to gain grassroots support for their products. One
such activity was an educational film entitled America at Risk, produced by the Space and Missile Defense Working Group, a division of the
National Defense Industrial Association, and made available to key state
officials and school administrators in all 50 states. The following is a transcript from the film.
Scene 1
[Low, sweeping aerial views of strip malls and highways, fading into scenes of
suburban streetschildren getting out of school, riding bikes, playing soccer]
Scene 2
[Bill, his wife, and their daughter, Rachel, eating dinner]
Rachel: Mommy, this boy in my class, he spilled red paint all over his pants.
Wife: Red paint?
Rachel: Uh-huh. Mommy, can I please be excused?
Wife: I guess so.
[Rachel goes to play in the den]
Bill: Have you seen all of the news about some of the Third World countries?
What are they called, rogue nations or something?
[Close-up of newspaper headline: Missile Threat Still Real, Expert Says]
There must be half a dozen countries all threatening to fire missiles at us, to
keep us out of their business. You know, just like North Korea the other
night, when we wanted to keep them from moving on South Korea. And
just the other day China made that speech about us interfering in their new
desire to take back Taiwan.
Wife: Oh, honey, all thats just talk. You know, we hear it all the time.
Bill: Maybe so, but weve really gotten mixed up more and more in situations
where countries threatened us with their ballistic missiles.

Politics of Missile Defense Deployment


Wife: Sweetheart, if they did fire something at us, we could handle it. Wed just
shoot them down. They really cant get to us with those things, you know.
Bill: Yeah, but Ive still got a bad feeling about all this talk of missiles being
fired at us. Theres been so much happening just in the past week. Tensions
have gotten really high, and all that diplomatic stuff sure hasnt worked.
Wife: Dont worry. Theres been plenty of time and more than enough people
to have already taken care of these things. Look, Bill, no ones going to
do anything to us. Were the United States of America, for goodness sake!
With all that money our country spends on defense, weve got it covered.
Now come on, give me a hand?
[Wife walks to sink]
Scene 3
[Daughter stands in front of television holding a remote control. A news program
ends, and orange triangle appears behind the words Stand By.]
TV: This is not a test.
Rachel: Mommy?
TV: Repeat. This is not a test.
[Bomb sirens sound]

I dont believe it. This is it. Its all over.

Bill, where are we supposed to go?
There is nowhere to go!
Then what do we do? Rachel, come here, baby! Now! Bill! What do we
do? Please tell me! Bill!
Rachel: Daddy?
[Fade to white]
Scene 4
[Montage of images with voice-over]
Announcer: It didnt have to be like this.
[Footage of protestors]
It could have been different.
[Rachels face in front of television, distraught parents, a Chinese rocket launching]
How often do any of us remember that the threat is real? But the technology to
defend ourselves does exist.
[Military Base, soldiers at computers]
And the capability for a working missile defense has been demonstrated.


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

[Computer image of missile shot from North Dakota intercepting a missile shot
from the east Atlantic]
In fact, our government has proven that it can be done.
[Footage of a missile striking something and exploding]
Now its time to begin defending our nation from this threat.
[Rockets launching]
Dont let this opportunity slip through our fingers again.
[Fade to black]

Even more important in the selling of antimissile programs was the danger from missile attack claimed by the Rumsfeld Commission.
Republicans were appalled and unconvinced by the 1995 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that held no new nation would possess threatening long-range missiles in less than 15 years. They challenged its major
points, accusing Clinton officials of applying political pressure to gain
conclusions that supported the administrations contentions. Even though
a subsequent review by former CIA director Robert Gates endorsed the
1995 NIE, the Republican congressional majority in November 1996 created an independent commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat.
When the commission finally convened in January 1998, the Democrats
appointed three members and Republicans chose the other six members. The Democrats appointed physicist Richard Garwin; founder of the
Henry Stimson Center, Barry Bleckman; and retired commander of the
U.S. Strategic Forces, General Lee Butler. The Republicans selected President Fords former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who became the
commissions chairman; Paul Wolfowitz, who served in the Pentagon
under President G.W.H. Bush; William Schneider Jr., an undersecretary of
state in the Reagan administration; William Graham, a science advisor to
President Reagan; R. James Woolsey, CIA director before resigning in 1994;
and retired Air Force chief of staff, General Larry Welch.
During the first month of its hearings, some Rumsfeld Commission
members complained that briefings by intelligence officials were superficial. One member told CIA Director George Tenant that: There is more
information in Time magazine than in the briefings they had received.
Later, Tenant gave the commission access to secret intelligence reports.
Like the earlier Team Bs gross overstatement of the Soviet threat in
1976, the Rumsfeld commissions report in July 1998 reflected a similar
overblown assessment of the so-called rogue states abilities to secretly
develop and field long-range ballistic missiles with Russian and Chinese
assistance. The unclassified summary declared that North Korea, Iran, and

Politics of Missile Defense Deployment


Iraq could, within five years (10 years for Iraq), possess missiles capable
of inflicting severe destruction on an unsuspecting United States. Should
they decide to do so, these nations and others possessing a Scud-based
ballistic missile infrastructure could produce an intercontinental ballistic
missile. The United States, warned the commission, could find itself seriously threatened by the rogue states, as these countries were currently
engaged in just such activities. The solution to this threat was a nationwide antimissile system.6
Yet five years after the appearance of the report none of the emerging
missile states have flight-tested a missile with even half the range of an
ICBM, according to a former member of State Departments Bureau of
Intelligence and Research, Greg Thielmann. One of the more dubious of
the Rumsfeld Commissions projections, Thielmann pointed out, was the
notion a single-stage, short-range ballistic missile could be rapidly reconfigured into a multiple-stage ICBM. Such an assumption of a straight-line,
predictable progress was not based on any previous experience and was
quite unrealistic, he argued. Rumsfelds assumptions about ballistic missile technology and operational necessities, concluded Thielmanns critical 2003 assessment, disregarded the considered findings of specialists
to emphasize highly unlikely worst-case scenarios demanding military
responses.7 Arriving at much the same conclusions as had other defense
experts, James M. Lindsay and Michael E. OHanlon of The Brookings
Institution believed that eventually 38 nations might come to have ballistic
missiles, but none would possess ones with sufficient range to endanger
the United States before 2010. No nation that fielded long-range missiles,
they contended, had any desire to attack the United States and the possibility of an accident or unintended missile launch by Russia or China was
virtually nil.8
The Rumsfeld report, however, gained unusually wide attention because
of North Koreas failed attempt in August 1998 to place a satellite in orbit.
This coincidence was most unfortunate, Thielmann notes, because it further stimulated a political tidal wave that ultimately engulfed one of the
most successful arms control treaties in history, the . . . ABM Treaty. The
report also led to massive increases in spending on defenses against ICBMs
rather than . . . more urgent defenses against short- and medium-range
* * *
During the Clinton administration, the most likely threats to justify
a U.S. national missile defense system were from Russia, China, North
Korea, Iran, and Iraq. Among these latter three nations, North Korea had
the most advanced missiles and nuclear weapons programs. Throughout
the 1990s, Pyongyang produced and exported ballistic missiles based on
a prototype of the Soviet Unions 300-mile-range Scud missiles that could
reach South Korea, Japan, or other nearby U.S. allies. After 1992, North


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

Korea began developing single-stage and later multistage missiles called

the No Dong. Pyongyangs test flight of a long-range multistage missile
Taepo Dong-1 (TD-1) in August 1998 achieved a range of 1,240 miles. The
1995 Intelligence report may have underestimated North Koreas abilities; yet, the TD-1s third-stage booster failed to launch its space satellite.
The 1998 test surprised Americans and their Asian allies, but there was
no evidence Pyongyang had mastered the technology required for a reliable missile guidance system or developed accurate reentry vehicles able
to carry nuclear warheads.9 North Koreas 1998 test and the subsequent
National Missile Defense Act of 1999 nonetheless put a great deal of pressure on the Clinton administration to move more rapidly toward the possible deployment of an antimissile system and to persuade Pyongyang to
halt its missile test flights. Negotiations during September 1999 resulted in
North Korea announcing it would stop its missile tests while talks were
underway with the United States. In exchange, Washington announced
that it would lift the economic sanctions levied on Pyongyang in 1953.
North Koreas halting of the missile tests, however, was not a moratorium
on North Koreas missile research and development.10
Russia and China already possessed ICBMs and nuclear warheads,
but they were concerned about political maneuvers in the United States
regarding the 1972 ABM Treaty. The Clinton administration hoped to
negotiate amendments to the ABM Treaty with Moscow so that a theater
missile defense (TMD) system could be tested and deployed without violating the pact. Protracted negotiations for amendments began in 1993
during a Standing Consultative Commission meeting in Genevathe
body that monitored ABM compliancewith the Americans seeking to
clarify the treatys Article VI(a), which did not indicate the precise speed
of an interceptor for it to be considered ABM-capable. Washington wanted
an agreement that would legally allow interceptors to be tested against
targets traveling up to 5 kilometers per seconda speed that would not
allow a missile to intercept an ICBMto be compatible with the 1972
ABM Treaty. After much discussion, Clinton and Russian President Boris
Yeltsin signed new protocols modifying the ABM Treatyappearing in
the form of Agreed Statements emanating from the Standing Consultative Committeeon September 9, 1997, which added a specified class of
nonstrategic defense missiles that no longer would be limited by the ABM
Treaty. The specific demarcation line permitted a theater defense missile to
have a velocity of five kilometers per second as long as the system was not
tested against targets traveling faster than five kilometers per second.11
The Russian parliament eventually ratified Strategic Arms Reduction
Treaty (START) II and the 1997 ABM agreements on April 14, 2000. Russias newly elected president, Vladimir Putin, endorsed the ratification
May 4, 2000, on the condition the United States ratify the 1997 ABM protocols. Republicans senators led by North Carolinas Jesse Helms, chairman of the Senates Foreign Relations Committee, opposed any limits on

Politics of Missile Defense Deployment


U.S. missile defense systems. Consequently, Clinton never submitted the

ABM protocols to Congress for fear Helms would keep them in committee or orchestrate their defeat on the Senate floor. Helms claimed the 1997
agreements would not permit the United States to deploy any upper-tier
interceptor system. Nevertheless, the Clinton administration continued
working on TMDs, assuming they could be deployed when and if they
became a viable system.12
Americas NATO allies opposed U.S. plans for any missile defense
program that would violate the ABM Treaty. When a high-ranking State
Department official, Strobe Talbott, visited Brussels to discuss the U.S.
missile defense programs with NATO officials, he quickly discovered just
how suspicious and upset the Europeans were about American motives.
The French delegate, Ambassador Philippe Guelluy, complained they
were not consulted, but instead were faced with unilateral decisions. He
feared any national antimissile system would upset the deterrence system, prompting the Russians, Chinese, and other nations to counter with
more sophisticated missiles. Was the United States seeking to defend itself
from missile attacks, leaving NATO members to fend for themselves in a
crisis? Washingtons belief that rogue nations would defy traditional
deterrence was highly questionable, he asserted; moreover, it was risky to
assume nothing could be accomplished by negotiation and engagement.
In November 1999, Russia sponsored a UN General Assembly resolution
opposing any missile defense system violating the 1972 ABM Treaty that
passed a committee vote, 54 to 7, with all members from the European
Union either voting with Russia or abstaining.13
On January 19, 2000, John Holum, senior adviser for the State Departments Arms Control and International Security Affairs Bureau, and Yuri
Kapralov, head of the Russian Ministrys Arms Control Department, met
in Geneva to discuss a new U.S. proposal. Washington desired to shift the
permitted location for placement of its nominal 100 ground-based ABM
interceptorspermitted under the ABM Treatyfrom North Dakota to
Alaska. Moscow found this suggestion unacceptable and, on July 5, 2000,
Putin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin declared that the ABM treaty
must not be altered. In addition, Putin told a press conference that if the
United States moved ahead with its antimissile programs and violated the
1972 Treaty, the United States would undermine the world balance of
nuclear weapons.14
* * *
The Clinton administration, moved in large part by political pressures,
had announced a three-stage national missile defense (NMD) system in
1996 that was quite different from President Reagans space-based concept for nationwide protection against ballistic missiles. The administrations initial NMD plan, which remained intact until 1999, consisted of a
staggered scheduled deployment whose basic elements were:


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

Capability-1 (C-1): 20 Alaska-based interceptors; upgrading five existing radars in

Alaska, Greenland, Great Britain, and on the U.S. West Coast; a new X-band
radar at the western tip of the Aleutian Islands; a battle management system; and
communications relays for guidance information of interceptors in-flight. The system was to begin operating in late 2005.
Capability-2 (C-2): 100 Alaska-based interceptors; additional X-band radars in
Alaska, Great Britain, and Greenland. The interceptors could be operational by
Capability-3 (C-3): Up to 250 interceptors based in Alaska and in North Dakota;
with additional X-band radars on both U.S. coasts and possibly in South Korea.
This system could be deployed by 2010 or 2011.

The Pentagon claimed C-1 would be able to defeat a few warheads

that only employed simple penetration aids or countermeasures; C-2
could defeat a few tens of warheads with more sophisticated countermeasures; and C-3 would defeat a few tens of warheads that included
advanced countermeasures.
In late 1999, the Clinton administration chose to modify its first stage
with what it termed an expanded C-1 architecture. Instead of initially
deploying 20 interceptors, the new plan called for installing 100 interceptors, probably in Alaska, and upgrading the five existing radars in
Alaska, Greenland, Great Britain, and on the U.S. West Coast. Although
some of the 100 interceptors would not be ready for deployment by 2005,
it was hoped the full complement would be available by 2007. As additional support for the modified C-1 architecture, Washington hoped to
add a six-satellite systemthe Space-Based Infrared System-High (SBIRSHigh)as an upgraded replacement for the early warning satellites of
the existing Defense Support Program. The SBIRS-High would circle
the earth to detect any missile launch by detecting exhaust plumes from
ignited boosters. It was projected that the new system would be available
in time to enhance the initial NMD deployment in 2005. Also on the drawing board was the 24-satellite Space-Based Infrared System-Low (SBIRSLow) program that employed two types of infrared sensors designed to
track missiles in flight and direct interceptors to incoming warheads. With
a projected deployment date of 20062007, the SBIRS-Low, if successful,
would significantly enhance the role satellites played in missile defense;
however, technical issues suggested that it might be delayed. Although
the SBIRS-High satellites did not clash with the terms of the 1972 ABM
Treaty, deployment of the SBIRS-Low system would violate the treatys
prohibitions against space-based sensors that could pass targeting directions to interceptors.15
Demands for deployment of SBIRS-Low were prompted by the passage of the 1999 National Missile Defense Act, sponsored by the Republicans but joined by many Democrats. The significance of the Rumsfeld
Commissions grossly inflated estimates and North Koreas August 1998
launch of a three-stage Taepo Dong-1 rocket had increased the pressure

Politics of Missile Defense Deployment


on the administration to immediately install a national antimissile system.

Despite his insistence that no decision on deployment had been made,
the president understood that Congress would only accept technological
obstacles as justification for delay.
Yet the necessity for a delay in deployment should have been evident to
everyone, for, in January 1998, the Pentagon received a shockingly critical
review of the NMD program ordered the previous year. Former Air Force
Chief of Staff General Larry Welch directed the 16-member panel of civilian and military officers, all of whom had been involved in developing
missile, aeronautical, and naval projects. Although skeptical of the NMD,
Welch had a reputation for unbiased, to-the-point evaluations of defense
department projects. The panels 76-page report savaged the Pentagons
entire missile defense program, as Bradley Graham noted in his book Hit
to Kill, for its poor planning, insufficient testing, and political pressure
to speed up deployment. The report went on to declare that decisions by
officials to accept abbreviated timetables and minimal numbers of flight
test had raised the risk of flops, delays and cost overruns. All of this,
Welch concluded, could result in a rush to failure.16
Technical problems surfaced in the critical exoatmospheric kill vehicle
(EKV), a significant part of a national missile defense program, which
should find and destroy the incoming nuclear warheads. Raytheons initial test of the EKV in January 1999 was a fly-by, but an intercept attempt
took place in October. An unarmed Minuteman missile was launched from
Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and the interceptor, comprised
of an EKV and boosters, lifted off from Kwajalein atoll in the western
Pacific Ocean. The interceptor scored a direct hit on the Minuteman about
140 miles above Kwajalein. Although Raytheon celebrated the EKVs success, controversy arose because a Mylar decoy balloon allegedly helped
the interceptor find the Minuteman. The Pentagon and Raytheon insisted
that the balloon provided little aid to the EKV, but in January 2000, the
New York Times reported the EKV had drifted off course until it was guided
to the target by the Mylar balloon.
The next tests of the NMD system were conducted in January and July
2000, but on both occasions the interceptor failed to hit the target. The
National Security Council examined the results of all three tests according
to criteria established by the White House. The four factors to aid Clinton
in reaching a decision regarding deployment were: (1) whether the threat
is materializing; (2) the status of the technology based on an initial series
of rigorous flight tests, and the proposed systems operational effectiveness; (3) whether the system is affordable; and (4) the implications that
going forward with NMD deployment would hold for the overall strategic environment and our arms control objectives.17 Since two of the three
tests conducted up to that point were outright failures, and the results
of the first of those tests were mixed, clearly the system had not demonstrated operational effectiveness.


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

U.S. efforts in 2000 to modify the ABM treaty had been based on the
assumption that sooner or later some part of the overall antimissile system might run afoul of the ABM Treaty, but all of the tests to this point
had been conducted within its framework and there was no immediate
need to modify the treaty. The NMD system, however, was twice unable
to meet the second criterion of effectiveness in rigorous flight tests: the
January 18 test failed because the cryogenic system failed to properly cool
the infrared sensors on the kill vehicle; and the kill vehicle failed to separate from the interceptor missile during the July 8 test.18 On September 1,
Clinton announced that he was postponing a decision on constructing the
NMD defense system so that whoever was elected president in November
would have the final decision on any future deployment.
Meanwhile, tests of theater antimissile systems provided mixed results.
The theater high-altitude area defense (THAAD) system failed six intercept tests between December 1995 and March 1999 for a variety of reasons.
On June 10 and August 2, 1999, THAAD completed two successful intercepts; nonetheless, in November a Defense Department panel of experts
recommended that THAAD be redesigned with subsequent flight and
intercept tests delayed until 2004 or 2005.19
By the end of 2000, the Armys short-range Patriot Advanced Capability
(PAC-3) defense system had been significantly improved by providing a
radar with greater range and, at the same time, the ability to track more
incoming missiles. In developmental tests, PAC-3s hit-to-kill interceptors
had been tested successfully several times. Also at the end of 2000, the
navys Aegis-class ships had modified its standard antiaircraft missiles for
low-altitude theater missile defense. As the Aegis covered a larger operational zone than PAC-3, the Navy sought approval for converting Aegisequipped cruisers and destroyers to mount Navy Theater Wide (NTW)
ship-launched antimissile interceptors. Some proponents even pressed to
have it become part of the national missile defense system, with the Pentagon suggesting that a strategic version of the NTW system might be complementary to the ground-based NMD system, especially in protecting
harbors and other costal areas. The navy had been attempting to develop
another program, Navy Area Wide, in addition to NTW, but uncertainty
existed about whether to proceed with one or both. At the end of the Clinton administration, the navys missile defense role, other than protecting
its own combat ships, had not been fully defined.20
* * *
Even though a missile defense system would not have intercepted the
September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York Citys World Trade Center and Washington D.C.s Pentagon building, the newly installed president, George W. Bush, insisted that a missile defense system was essential
to American security. A few months after his inauguration, President
Bush informed his audience at the National Defense University that he

Politics of Missile Defense Deployment


intended to deploy a missile defense system. We need a new framework

that allows us to build missile defenses to counter the different threats of
todays world, he said on May 1, 2001. To do so, we must move beyond
the constraints of the 30-year-old ABM Treaty. Continuing, he declared:
Several months ago, I asked Secretary of Defense [Donald] Rumsfeld to examine all available technologies and basing modes for effective missile defenses
that could protect the United States, our deployed forces, our friends, and our
allies. . . . The Secretary has identified near-term options that could allow us to
deploy an initial capability against limited threats. In some cases, we can draw
on already established technologies that might involve land-based and sea-based
capabilities to intercept missiles in midcourse or after they reenter the atmosphere.
We also recognize the substantial advantages of intercepting missiles early in their
flight, especially in the boost phase.

Bush also indicated that he was going to reach out to other interested
states, including allies, China and Russia, to develop a new foundation
for world peace and security in the 21st century. All of this, he believed,
would create a new political environment that would encourage still further cuts in nuclear weapons.21
Shortly before Bush met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on
June 16, 2001, Rumsfeld provided the media with a glimpse of the administrations plans for a more robust missile defense program involving
ground-based, sea-based, air-based, and space-based systems. According
to Rumsfeld, the Defense Department had compiled a list of 12 different
projects that would be scrutinized, developed, and tested. Those projects
that showed promise would be selected for accelerated research and testing; the programs that did not live up to expectations might be canceled.22
What emerged as the so-called new missile defense program was largely
the recasting of the Clinton administrations various antimissile projects,
with the integration of these programs into a multilayered system. The
Bush administration hoped to develop a layered system capable of downing enemy missilesshort-, medium-, and long-rangein all phases of
flightboost, midcourse, and terminaland do this from land, sea, and
space. Although nearly all of the elements of the plan had existed under
Clinton, after eight years a space-based missile defense was again under
In addition to renaming the National Missile Defense program as the
Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) project, the Bush administration anticipated adding a few new interceptors and a sea-based X-band
radar to be based in the Pacific, along with an upgraded, land-based radar
on Shemya, a small island southwest of Alaska. The missions of some
theater systems could be expanded and integrated, not only to defend
against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, but also to counter
long-range ones as well. The Navy Theater Wide (now Aegis sea-based),
THAAD, and Patriot systems, however, had yet to prove themselves


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Photo by

Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen. (Courtesy: Department of Defense)

capable of accomplishing their original, more limited missions under

realistic scenarios.
The 1972 ABM Treaty long had been the nemesis of most missile
defense proponents. Senior officials in the Pentagon and State Department frequently disagreed as to what testing was permissible under the
treaty, with some in the Pentagon and the missile defense organization
complaining their activities were being restricted. On July 11, 2001, the
administration announced a testing program that might soon violate
the ABM Treaty. Included in the announcements were plans to begin
clearing trees for what it called a test bed facility at Fort Greely about
100 miles southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska, plans for 17 new missile tests
during the next 14 months, and up to 30 additional tests by 2006. Also,
the environmental documents indicated that 40 interceptors would be
allowed at Fort Greely. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz informed the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 13 that
the Pentagon had scheduled 10 flight tests of ground-based interceptors and seven tests of the navys theater-wide program. During the next
year, the test bed would be built in Alaska, including a command center
and five missile silos at Fort Greely, near Fairbanks, plus one or two silos
from which to launch target missiles on Kodiak Island. The Pentagon also
planned to upgrade the Shemya radar at the end of the Aleutian chain and
improve the navys Aegis computer system so it could track long-range

Politics of Missile Defense Deployment


Wolfowitz declined to be specific about whether the missile tests might

violate the ABM Treaty, but he indicated that the Bush administration
would withdraw from the ABM Treaty if Russia did not agree to permit the tests. He acknowledged that disagreement over the treaty put
the United States and Russia on a collision course . . . we have either
to withdraw from [the ABM Treaty] or replace it. Defense Secretary
Rumsfeld acknowledged that the Pentagon budget for fiscal year 2002
would include specific requests for its missile defense systems. The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO)shortly to be renamed the
Missile Defense Agency (MDA)had requested $3.9 billion for the GMD
interceptors program; $968 million for terminal interceptor programs
such as THAAD and the Patriot PAC-3; $787 million for the research and
development of methods to detect decoys and for tests; $495 million to
develop sensors for the navys Aegis, the X-Band radar, and space-based
infrared systems; and $685 to develop boost-phase interceptorsBrilliant
Pebbles and space-based laser programs. The total BMDO budget would
be $8.5 billion, representing a 56 percent increase over the Clinton administrations budget for 2001.24
On July 14, 2001, the Pentagon conducted a scripted test of the Clinton administrations NMD, now the Bush administrations GMD program. Shortly after a mock enemy target was launcheda Minuteman
ICBM from Vandenberg Air Force Basea prototype interceptor from
Kwajalein carrying an EKV hit and destroyed its target 140 miles above
the earth. The Defense Department promptly reported that a bullet hit
a bullet in space; but, as with the 1984 SDI Homing Overlay test (noted
in chapter 2), reporters later learned the July test was only partially successful. During the test the interceptor knew the targets speed, altitude,
path, precise capabilities, and the target was fitted with a transponder,
which allowed radar operators positioned in line with the arc of the test
to mark the targets progress through most of its flight. On August 9,
2001, Major General Willie Nance, who headed the GMD, acknowledged
that the X-Band radar tracking the ICBM warhead failed to verify that the
target was hit. Boeings test chief at Kwajalein was more blunt: Look,
were not hiding anything. Somehow people got the idea that were doing
operational tests; were not. These are developmental tests. Were in very
early stages.25
Critics continued to question the technical reliability of the BMD programs. They pointed out that the tests had been scripted, with the interceptor missiles providing information in advance that would never be
available during hostilities. Skeptics also pointed to various types of
countermeasures that adversaries could use and, in April 2000, the Union
of Concerned Scientists described three such devices. These countermeasures could include submunitions with biological or chemical weapons
carried in hundreds of small warheads to be released soon after the ballistic missiles boost phase ended, thus overwhelming a missile defense.


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

A warhead could be disguised with antisimulation balloon decoys where

a nuclear device would be placed in one light-weight balloon and released
with several similar but empty balloons. The inability of sensors to distinguish one balloon from another would necessitate shooting down all
of the balloons. Finally, nuclear warheads could be covered by shrouds
cooled by liquid nitrogen, reducing the infrared radiation and making it
difficult for the kill vehicles sensors to intercept them.26
The director of BMDO under Clinton and MDA under George W. Bush,
Lt. General Ronald Kadish, responded to critics of missile defense tests. In
the first of several rebuttals on June 5, 2000, Kadish stressed:
Some suggest that we are not testing the NMD system against realistic targets. But
they ignore our . . . practice of testing other complex systems, such as new aircraft.
The first test planned for each aircraft had always been a high-speed taxi test. After
all, there is an understandable interest in making sure the basic mechanics, avionics, and computers work as they should before taking the far more risky step of
lifting off the ground. This is the evolutionary nature of the testing approach we
must use when we develop highly complex machineswe dont test to the maximum every component of the system the first few times.
Two central technological problems confront us. The first is the discrimination problem, or, can we find a warhead? The second is the so-called hit-a-bulletwith-a bullet problem, or, once we find a warhead can we hit it? [S]olutions to
both these problems have eluded us, especially against a massive raid involving
hundreds of incoming warheads . . . decoys, radar chaff, and debris. Up to now, the
technological immaturity of our sensors did not allow us to discriminate, or pick
out, the countermeasures within a target cluster.

Kadish thought critics tended to magnify the capabilities of states like

North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. But just because states can build missiles
doesnt mean they can or will develop countermeasures. And, even if they
demonstrate a capability to build them, it is not automatically true that
they can use them effectively . . . I would argue that they cant.27 Few critics were satisfied with his response.
* * *
The Bush administration soon found Japan, China, South Korea, and
Americas European allies were concerned that their BMD program
threatened the strategic stability created by previous arms control agreements. In the spring of 2001, Russian President Putin apparently sought
to counter Bushs missile defense plans by seeking closer relations with
Western Europeans, Chinas President Jiang Zemin and North Koreas
Kim Jong Il. Putin and Zemin feared Bushs plans for a national missile defense system would destabilize the worlds strategic arms relationships. Americas European allies also feared that the deployment of
a missile defense system could undermine nuclear arms control agreements and seriously damage relations with Russia. In February 2001,

Politics of Missile Defense Deployment


Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Russias Foreign Minister Igor
Ivanov in Cairo, Egypt, to discuss possible changes in the ABM Treaty
only to learn that Moscow refused to accept any of the administrations
suggested compromises.28
Although Bushs advisors had only disdain for Clintons reliance on a
personal friendship with Russias President Yeltsin during the 1990s, Bush
appeared to have quickly developed a similar relationship with Putin.
When the two presidents met briefly for the first time in Ljubljana, Slovenia on June 16, 2001, Bush told a press conference that he found Putin to
be very straightforward and trustworthy. . . . I was able to get a sense of
his soul. Hes a man deeply committed to his country. Putin responded
that we found a basis to start building on our cooperation with the
United States. Two other Bush-Putin meetings during 2001 established
the groundwork for early cooperation. After the tragic assaults of September 11, Putin was the first foreign leader to call Bush and offer support in
fighting terrorists.29
On October 3, Putin visited Brussels to talk with NATOs Secretary
General Robertson and other NATO members about a closer partnership
between Russia and NATO. British Prime Minister Tony Blair suggested
Russia should become a partner on an equal basis with other NATO members. Although not granting Putins wish for equality, NATO members
did agree on May 28, 2002, to upgrade the NATO-Russia Permanent JointCouncil that had been established in 1997.30
Americans and Russians met frequently to discuss possible changes in
the ABM Treaty. On October 22, after Bush and Putin held an informal
meeting in Shanghai, China, Putin told reporters that he and Bush might
be able to work out some changes in the ABM Treaty when they met at
Crawford, Texas, on November 14. During the Crawford summit from
November 14 to 16, the two leaders agreed that the United States and Russia would begin negotiations to reduce their arsenal of offensive nuclear
warheads. But Bush refused to continue compliance with the ABM Treaty
unless Putin accepted major changes. As in a previous meeting with Clinton in 2000, Putin warned Bush that ending the ABM Treaty could force
Russia to abrogate all previous arms control treaties that had maintained
strategic stability for nearly 30 years.31
Nonetheless, Bush announced on December 13, 2001, that Washington
had given Moscow the required six months notice of its intention to withdraw from the 1972 ABM Treaty. Indicating he was willing to sign a formal treaty with Russia to reduce offensive weapons, Bush insisted that the
end of the ABM Treaty does not undermine our new relationship or Russian security. Putin responded that he considered Bushs decision to be
a mistake, but stressed that his nation had an offensive system capable of
overcoming any antimissile defenses. For this reason, Putin concluded,
I can state with complete confidence that Bushs decision presents no
threat to the national security of the Russian Federation.32


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

Meanwhile between December 2001 and May 2002, Secretary of State

Colin Powell and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov negotiated a new
arms limitations pact designed to reduce offensive nuclear warheads. Bush
flew to Moscow where the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT),
better known as the Moscow Treaty, was signed on May 26, 2002. At the
final ceremonial signing, Bush declared the Moscow Treaty finally ended
the legacy of the Cold War, a bit of hyperbole because the Cold War had
actually ended 10 years earlier. American critics of SORT pointed out that
the agreement was retrogressive, as it did not require a single offensive
nuclear weapon or delivery system to be destroyed. On the contrary, it
permitted both nations to abandon the limitations of previous U.S.-Soviet
or U.S.-Russian arms control agreements, especially START IIwhich had
never entered into forcethat banned multiple warheads on ICBMs.33
On June 13, 2002, with no ceremony or protest to mark the U.S.s official
termination of the ABM Treaty, only a presidential statement was handed
out to the media. Despite the critical remarks of some Russian legislators,
officials in Moscow appeared resigned to the treatys demise and believed
that it would be some time before the United States was able to deploy
an effective national missile defense system. Still confronting daunting
domestic problems, President Putin chose not to jeopardize his generally
warm relations with the Bush administration. Even few negative public comments were heard from NATO allies who had feared abrogation
would cause an unraveling of the basic arms control structure crafted during the Cold War. Somewhat surprisingly, there was little celebrating by
Republicans who had for several years demanded the termination of the
ABM Treaty. Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona was enthusiastic because, he said,
the United States is no longer handcuffed to a policy that intentionally
leaves its own people defenseless to missile attack.34 The next day in the
Wall Street Journal, Paul Wolfowitz expressed enthusiasm at the possibilities now available to the BMD program. We can now move forward,
he declared, with the robust development and testing program that the
Department of Defense has designed to take advantage of new technologies and basing modes.
Canadian leaders, however, were upset with Bushs unilateral abrogation of the ABM Treaty because it presented the Ottawa government with
a difficult decision regarding its role in the North American Air Defense
(NORAD) command. Should the Canadians not join the missile defense
system, American officials threatened to place the operation under Washingtons sole control. In May 2003, the Canadian government began wrestling with whether to participate in the U.S. missile defense program. Art
Eggleton, the former defense minister, pointed out: If decisions are going
to be made about these missiles being used in a defensive fashion over
Canadian territory, I dont think we should be outside the door. I think
we should be inside at the table. Other members of parliament voiced
reservations about U.S. intentions in deploying antimissile weapons in

Politics of Missile Defense Deployment


space, fearing that it would lead to a new arms race in space weapons.
After considerable debate the government, while declaring its continuing
commitment to NORAD, postponed a final decision declaring: Canada
shares U.S. concerns about the proliferation of missiles and weapons of
mass destruction but also continues to have questions about the missile
defences potential impact on arms control and global stability.35
* * *
Even before Bush announced his intention to abrogate the ABM Treaty
on December 13, 2001, the Pentagon had planned a new series of carefully scripted missile defense tests in which all intercepts employed a surrogate, slower two-stage booster until a new more powerful three-stage
booster had been proven. The MDA hailed its December 3, 2001 test as
successful since a prototype GMD interceptor avoided the Mylar balloon
serving as a decoy and demolished a mock warhead 140 miles above the
earth. Questioning the tests operational realism, critics pointed out that
the interceptor had been fed a substantial amount of targeting information before launch.36 Ten days later, Boeings new three-stage booster
rocket for the GMD interceptor failed when the rocket, developed to carry
kill vehicles that would track and destroy long-range missiles above the
earths atmosphere, veered off course seconds after being fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Although successfully tested in August 2001, it
had been plagued with persistent problems and delays. Soon after this
failure another company, Orbital Sciences, was asked to build a booster
model and Lockheed Martin took over the Boeing model. A GMD interceptor test, similar to the December 3, 2001 test, took place on March 15,
2002. Just as in December and July 2001, the ground-based missile from
Kwajalein atoll in the Pacific Ocean hit a mock warhead carried to the area
by a modified Minuteman II missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The
main difference with prior tests was that this time three (not one) balloon
decoys accompanied the target.37
The navys missile defense plans experienced trouble in 2001. On
December 14, the Pentagon announced that plans for the Navy Area
Wide Missile Defense consisting of a short-range antimissile system had
been canceled. The ship-based system was to defend vessels, naval ports,
and amphibious operations, but it was more than 50 percent over budget and more than two years behind schedule. The programs allocated
funds were shifted to navy ships capable of carrying both short- and longrange missile defensesNavy Theater Wide (later Aegis) system.38 The
navys first test of a ship-based interceptor designed to counter short- and
medium-range ballistic missiles took place on January 25, 2002. Described
by the Pentagon as a controlled developmental test and not operationally representative, an interceptor missile fired from a navy Aegis class
cruiser successfully collided in outer space with a mock warhead carried
by an Aries missile launched from Kauai, Hawaii. The tests primary


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

mission was to evaluate the guidance system and Raytheons Standard

Missile-3 (SM-3).
On June 13 and November 21, 2002, the MDA held the second and third
tests of a sea-based defense missile at the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii. Both times a developmental SM-3 fired from the
Aegis-class cruiser USS Lake Erie successfully intercepted an Aries ballistic missile launched from Kauai. The Aegis Lightweight Exoatmospheric
Projectile Intercept (ALI) had launched an SM-3 whose kinetic warhead
tracked and hit its target, demonstrating that the SM-3 ALI system could
hit the ballistic missile outside the atmosphere. In his February 2003 report
to Congress, Thomas Christie, director of the Pentagons Operational Test
and Evaluation office, noted while the MDAs 2002 sea-based intercept
tests had been successful, the flight test engagement geometries, scenarios, and timelines were non-stressing. Future tests, he argued, required a
target with a warhead that separated from its booster rather than a target
that stayed together making it much easier to track.39 After three successful intercepts, the Aegis system encountered its first failure on June 18,
2003, when an SM-3 launched by the USS Lake Erie missed an Aries target.
The Aegis system could prove to be useful for theater defense, but it still
was too slow by half to target ICBMs.40
Although missing only one of ten targets in its developmental tests,
the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system responded dismally to
operational tests during the first half of 2002. The PAC-3 ground-based tactical missile defense system was designed to intercept short- and mediumrange ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and aircraft. Conducted by soldiers
under more realistic battlefield conditions, in three of the four operational
tests, PAC-3 and older model PAC-2 interceptors were simultaneously
launched at multiple targets. The last test anticipated that two PAC-3 missiles would be launched automatically in rapid sequence at a single target.
In the first test, a PAC-3 interceptor failed to hit its target, and in each of
the next three tests, a PAC-3 missile refused to launch as programmed.
Consequently the tests resulted in PAC-3 missiles destroying two of five
assigned targets, and one missile struck its target but failed to destroy
it. Nevertheless, production and deployment of the PAC-3 continued.
According to General Kadish: The decision on Patriot is to work out the
difficulties we found and improve the system over time and build as much
as we can afford in the process.41
As the Pentagon planned for the invasion of Iraq, General Kadish,
despite test glitches, remained convinced that the PAC-3s did not suffer
from any significant design weaknesses. Philip E. Coyle, III, who headed
the Pentagons weapons testing from 19942001, was considerably less
encouraging. He thought that the army wont be able to rely on them,
because failures in the operational tests indicated that the PAC-3 would
likely be less than 50 percent successful against Scud missiles. After the
U.S. March 2003 invasion of Iraq, reports regarding the effectiveness of the

Politics of Missile Defense Deployment


Patriot missile defense systems were mixed. According to the U.S. Army,
the Patriot batteries destroyed all the Iraqi missiles (9 for 9) they fired at,
but they also shot down two friendly aircraft and locked on to a third. Most
of the intercepts were accomplished by the older model, PAC-2, as the
newer PAC-3 accounted for only two of the nine Iraqi missiles. Although
he acknowledged the Patriots mistakenly targeted friendly aircraft, General Kadish claimed the Patriots record still was very, very good.
Yet Iraq reportedly launched at least 23 ballistic and cruise missiles. Wade
Boese, director of research for the Arms Control Association, noted of the
14 Iraqi missiles not engaged by Patriots, four were reported as outside
the range of any Patriot system and one exploded shortly after launch. No
official explanation [has been] given for why the other nine Iraqi missiles
were not fired upon although at least three may have been judged to be
non-threatening. Iraq fired no Scud missiles this time, missiles that had
been a problem in the 1991 war, so Patriot remained unproven against
Scuds in battle. Instead Iraq launched a number of cruise missiles, but
no cruise missiles were intercepted, a situation that could cause future
problems. Skeptics emphasized the lack of realistic testing as one of the
problems. The PAC-3 missile has been retrofitted into a system that is
basically 70s technology, claimed Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace. Since earlier Patriot tests employed a
drone aircraft, the slowest, most vulnerable target, he suggested: We may
need a brand-new system. But well never know that until you realistically
test the Patriot.42
Israel responded to the Iraqi invasion by testing an anti-Scud missile
shield of its ownthe Arrow BMD system funded in part by the United
States. A 23-foot-long thin missile, the Arrow was designed to search out
and hit enemy missiles at an altitude of more than 30 miles in less than
three minutes. In a rapid test firing of four interceptors on January 6,
2003, the Arrows radar located all four simulated targets and directed
the interceptors to their targets; however, the test did not include actual
target intercepts.43 The Iraqis, however, never launched a Scud toward
Israel during the brief military activity, so a realistic test was missed. On
August 26, 2004, Israel and the United States carried out a joint test off the
California coast under test conditions that would be prohibited for safety
reasons in Israel. An Arrow missile launched from San Nicholas Island
missed a separating ballistic missile target, and testing was suspended
until late 2005.
On July 18, 2002, the Airborne Laser (ABL) aircraft made its first significant flight over western Kansas. Although this Boeing project began
in November 1996 with an appropriation of $1.1 billion, the Boeing 747
aircraft was not adapted for the ABL program or delivered to the U.S.
Air Forces McConnell Air Force Base until January 2002. In Kansas, a
technical team from Boeing, TRW, and Lockheed Martin installed some
essential components of the BMD system. TRW was scheduled to supply


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

the megawatt-class lasers for the kill mechanism, and Lockheed was to
provide the complex maze of mirrors and lenses to guide the laser to the
target. The July 18 flight, without the laser, was the first for the reconfigured 747 that now had a rotating turret to house the ABLs five-foot
telescope and the lens through which the lasers would be fired. Thus the
reconfigured Boeing plane was a hybrid aircraft with a distinctive nose
and a teardrop-shaped pod atop the aircraft. Air Force plans called for
the final development and testing of the ABL to be completed by the end
of 2004, and possibly be ready for use between 2006 and 2008. If successfully tested, the ABL could theoretically provide the missile defense
system with the ability to shoot down any hostile ballistic missile during
the boost phase immediately after its being launched.44
The General Accounting Office (GAO) was less than enthusiastic about
the ABL program. It charged that the air force underestimated the technical difficulties of the program, its management process, and its costs. The
cost up to the initial test was $1.7 billion on a project that the air force
budgeted at $2.5 billion, but in 2001 was raised to $3.7 billiona figure
the GAO believed was still unrealistic because the basic ABL technologies
had yet to be tested. Although some progress had been made, the GAO
pointed out that the devices needed to stabilize the laser, as well as the
mirrors to focus and guide the laser beam, had yet to demonstrate they
could work together. Although development of target-tracking hardware,
safety systems, and devices required to adjust for air turbulence were further along, they were not ready to be integrated into the final system.45
Concern about collateral damage existed not only with the ABL but
with all boost-phase weapons. Although rarely mentioned in media handouts, the various antimissile interceptors could, in hitting and destroying
an enemy missile over-head, deposit the fallout from that missiles warhead on the people below. Consequently, boost phase systems designed
to destroy enemy missiles early in their flight could result in the death of
many innocent people. If an enemy ICBM were launched from the Middle
East, for example, the destruction of the missile could cause its nuclear
warhead to fall short of the United States and possibly land in Turkey or
southeastern Europe, causing numerous casualties. Also, nuclear missiles
launched from North Korea could be destroyed, and the warhead might
land in relatively isolated parts of the Pacific Ocean or in Japan or South
Korea. Should the nuclear warhead land on, or explode over, the Japanese
islands, the deaths could be worse than the 1945 atomic bombs.46
* * *
On December 17, 2002, President Bush issued a statement announcing a National Missile Defense Initiative. I have directed the Secretary
of Defense, he said, to deploy the initial elements of a strategic missile
defense system by September 30, 2004. The new strategic challenges of
the 21st century require us to think differently, but they also require us

Politics of Missile Defense Deployment


to act. The deployment of missile defenses is an essential element of

our broader efforts to transform our defense and deterrence policies and
capabilities to meet the new threats we face. The deployment scheduled
to take place in 2004 and 2005 included 20 GMD interceptors and 20 seabased interceptors positioned on three vessels. An unspecified number of
Patriot PAC-3s and the sea-based interceptors, along with upgraded radar
systems to help locate potential targets, would be deployed to protect
against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles.
The 20 GMD interceptors16 to be placed in Alaska, where work had
begun on six missile silos on June 15, 2002, and four located at Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB)were designed as a shield against long-range
ballistic missiles. Vandenberg AFB in south-central California was chosen
because it was already a missile base and a test facility. Thus, a Pentagon
official stated, there is already infrastructure there, so it is a logical place
to put them [interceptor missiles] in the continental United States. Theoretically, Rumsfeld stated, all 50 states would be protected by this rudimentary system, but the limited size and uncertain effectiveness indicated
that the initial project could, in his words, offer only a modest defense.
Even so, he argued, the system would be better than none at all. The White
House defended its decision for deployment in a May 20, 2003 statement
arguing that the initial deployment was only a starting point and that
the system would be upgraded as technology improved and added onto as
new systems became available. Consequently, the administration believed
that there would be no final, fixed missile defense architecture.47
Not everyone agreed with the rushed deployment schedule, especially
since it was acknowledged that only five of the eight ground-based midcourse scripted tests had been successful. Moreover, results from tests of
the sea-based system and the PAC-3 had been less than satisfactory. Neither the interceptor nor the radar to be used with the new national missile
defense system have ever been tested against any ballistic missile target,
according to Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. To deploy systems before
they are tested in a realistic environment, he concluded, violates common sense. The administration, Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode
Island complained, does not know if the system works, yet there is a
rush to deploy it. Even some of the missile defense supporters were concerned about the decision to reduce the developmental testing, skipping
operational testing where components are integrated and tried out in a
real world environment, and moving directly to deployment. The deployment of a flawed primitive system not only might have heavy additional
costs, but might very well delay the development of a more effective
system. The basic reason the administration was acting now, according
to James Lindsay of The Brookings Institution, was because once you
deploy a system youve really stuck a stake in the ground and makes it
very hard for a new administration to undo it. This is irreversible.48 It


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

may be recalled, however, that in 1976 Congress shut down the completed
Safeguard system because of questions regarding its reliability and maintenance costs.
The deployment issue flared anew when it was discovered that buried in President Bushs 2004 budget proposal was a request to exempt
the missile defense program from the law that prevents starting fullscale production of weapons that have not been operationally tested.
Should the exemption be granted, it would be the first time that a major
weapons program had avoided the testing requirements. Many analysts
opposed granting the exemption. Without these tests, Philip Coyle
pointed out, we may never know whether this system works or not,
and if they are done after the system is deployed, we wont know until
weve spent $70 billion on a ground-based missile defense system. Senate Democrats, among them Dianne Feinstein (CA), Carl Levin (MI), and
Jack Reed (RI), were properly concerned about the proposed waiver. In a
letter to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Feinstein wrote: I believe that any
deployed missile defense system must meet the same requirements and
standards that we set for all other fully operational weapons systems.
Indeed, given the potential cost of a failure of missile defense, I believe
that, if anything, it should be required to meet more stringent test standards than normally required.49
The Bush administrations obsession with secrecy posed a threat to the
long-term development of a reliable system. In June 2002, the Pentagon
announced it would henceforth keep key information secret about its missile defense program, especially data concerning flight tests. The administration justified its action on the grounds that it was necessary to keep
information out of the hands of U.S. adversaries, but several legislators
feared that it was to avoid congressional oversight. The administrations
strategy could be counterproductive if suspicion arose in Congress that
an ineffective system was being built or that money was being wasted,
because support for the project would surely wane.50


Missile Defense in Europe:

Bush to Obama

When President George W. Bush announced his decision to deploy missile defense units in Alaska and California on December 16, 2002, few
people realized that the administration had already begun quiet, unofficial talks with Poland and the Czech Republic about basing missile
defenses in Europe.1 In the summer and fall of 2002, the Bush administration approached Poland and the Czech Republic regarding the possibility
of locating U.S. missile defense units on their territory. Existing military
installations in several countries had been previously examined to determine whether suitable locations and support facilities existed, and in
2003 the Pentagons Missile Defense Agency (MDA) briefed the president
about the potential options.2
The 2002 National Security Presidential Directive 23, National Policy on
Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD), called for missile defenses to protect the
United States, its deployed forces, and its allies. President Bushs policy
announcement stated the deployments would include ground-based
interceptors, sea-based interceptors, additional Patriot (PAC-3) units, and
sensors based on land, at sea, and in space, but beyond a reference to
Americas allies, made no mention of specific deployments in Europe.3
In general, European nations had opposed U.S. withdrawal from the
1972 Antiballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and were critical of Bushs initial
plans for a missile defense system. Some of Americas European allies
saw those plans as potentially destabilizing, given Russias longstanding opposition to U.S. deployment of a national BMD system, potentially
leading to a new arms race and undercutting international efforts to prevent missile proliferation. During Bushs June 2001 visit to Europe, he was


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

told as much by several European heads of state. In July 2001, Prime Minister Tony Blair presented Bush with a report signed by approximately
250 members of the House of Commons that also was critical of American
BMD plans.4 Ignoring this display of resistance, the Bush administration
chose to forge ahead with expanding its antimissile system to Europe.
By initiating talks with Poland and the Czech Republic, Washington
also ignored a commitment it had made to Moscow in conjunction with
the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treatyalso known as the Moscow
Treaty. That Joint Declaration, signed by Presidents Bush and Putin on
May 24, 2002, called for joint research and development on missile defense
technologies, and American/Russian cooperation on missile defense
for Europe. Washingtons proposal to establish U.S. missile defenses in
Europe was neither joint nor cooperative and was undertaken unilaterally
almost before the ink had dried on the Joint Declaration.5
But the Bush administration also faced a logical inconsistency in its
approach to Iran. Although naming Iran part of the axis of evil, and
calling for regime changes in Tehran as well as Pyongyang, the administration had done very little to address the ballistic missile threat it claimed
Iran posed. The ground-based missile defense (GMD) system in Alaska
and California was aimed at North Korea, and the huge sea-based X-band
radar was to be based in the Pacific Ocean. No strategic-level U.S. missile defenses had been establish in Europe or elsewhere to defend against
Iranian missiles.
While MDA studies had indicated that it was theoretically possible to
intercept a missile launched from Iran toward the eastern United States
using interceptors based at Fort Greely in Alaska, the engagement timelines
for such an intercept posed serious problems and, consequently, the eastern parts of the United States remained vulnerable. Moreover, there was no
existing radar system located in Europe that could locate and target offensive missiles launched by Iran. The large early-warning radar at Fylingdales
in England could become part of such a system of radars, but first built in
1962 as part of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System and significantly
revamped 30 years later, it still would need to be upgraded to modern standards. Even so, it could not alone find missiles launched from Iran early
enough in their flight to provide adequate warning and tracking. Also, the
radar at Fylingdales itself could become a target during hostilities for presumed attack of multiple Iranian missiles.
The concept of some sort of a missile defense system for Europe, however, was not new. Discussions for joint theater missile defense exercises
between NATO and Russia were initiated in September 1994 by Presidents William Clinton and Boris Yeltsin. Since 1996, the two nations had
undertaken several such joint activities employing computer simulations
and focusing on communication systems. In March 2004, they held their
initial exercise aimed at testing procedures, jointly developed, to defend
their forces from short- and medium-range ballistic missiles.

Missile Defense in Europe


Meanwhile, a partnership between the United States, Germany, and

Italy under NATO was launched in 1996 to develop the Medium Extended
Air Defense System (MEADS). France had originally been a partner but
dropped out before the Memorandum of Understanding was signed in
May. MEADS itself came from an earlier air defense concept called Corps
SAM (corps surface-to-air missile), which had been born, canceled, and
then reborn on several occasions during the previous decade.6 In July
1996, NATO established a MEADS Management Agency to oversee the
program. Originally a U.S. Army program, MEADS was envisioned
to become a highly mobile system replacing the Hawk and Patriot air
defense components, and protecting ground units against tactical ballistic
missiles, aircraft, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles. Estimated
then at a total program cost of $3.6 billion, full production was scheduled
for fiscal year (FY)-2007.7
Protecting such a wide variety of targets was recognized as a technological challenge from the outset. Moreover, the complexities of managing
a multinational missile defense program quickly led to delays. As the cost
of MEADS was a concern, almost from the outset the United States began
evaluating options for reducing the cost, including making greater use of
a newer Patriot systemPAC-3. Consequently, today MEADS continues
based on the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement version of Patriot, a
longer-range type of PAC-3. Flight testing of this new version has been
scheduled to begin in 2012.
* * *
Since MEADS was never designed to handle long-range ballistic missiles, the Bush administration envisioned a more capable antimissile
defense located at a Third Site, that is, interceptor and radar sites in
Europe. The European locations were frequently referred to as the Third
Site, following the first two major U.S. missile defense installations at
Fort Greely in Alaska and at Vandenberg AFB, in California. Later the
Third Site would come to be identified by various other labels such as
the European Interceptor Site, European Midcourse Radar, or simply the
European Capability.
The first formal request by the Bush administration for appropriations
to pay for long-lead activity for ground-based interceptors at a potential third site came in early 2004 as part of its FY-2005 budget request.
In particular, the FY-2005 budget request explicitly called for acquisition
of up to ten (10) [exoatmospheric kill vehicles] EKVs and boosters for a
third site. However, beyond noting that the administration was examining the possibility of placing some BMDs assets overseas, to enhance the
protection of the U.S. homeland as well as for our allies and friends, the
budget request did not indicate where the Third Site would be located.
When questioned about the Third Site in a March 11, 2004 hearing of
the Senate Armed Services Committee, the head of the Missile Defense


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

Agency, Lt. General Ronald Kadish, seemed confused about whether or

not money had been requested for a third site, even after Senator Carl
Levin read the presidents budget request to him, word for word. When
Levin persisted in seeking the location of the third site, General Kadish
responded: Thats the reason why its not postulated fully in 05, we still
have to determine where that third site is going to be.8
The Third Site plan was based on the prototype of the GMD system
being deployed in Alaska and California. The interceptors, however,
would be new two-stage versions of the three-stage interceptors in the
GMD system. The X-band radar would be a similar to the ground-based
radar (GBR-P) located at Kwajalein atoll in the Pacific Ocean that had been
previously used in flight intercept tests. At that point, in early 2004, the
MDA had conducted only eight flight intercept tests of the basic GMD
system, and although five of those had been successful, the program had
not had a successful flight intercept test since October 2002, and would not
have another successful flight intercept test until September 2006.
The rationale for seeking a third site interceptor location, promptly surmised to be in Europe by Washington insiders, was that those sites currently under construction could not readily defend the U.S. East Coast
from Middle Eastern ballistic missiles.9 Even so, many members of Congress questioned the plans to expand U.S. missile defenses to Europe.
Since the proposed missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech
Republic did not cover all of Europe, questions arose in Congress as to
why the Pentagon would choose to defend some European countries
and not others. Recognizing congressional resistance to the Third Site proposal, the Bush administration did not request significant funding for the
next two years.
Work continued at the MDA on the proposed missile defenses in Europe,
and the Pentagon narrowed its site options. By the end of 2005, there was
little doubt that the MDA had settled on Poland and the Czech Republic,
with whom informal discussions had been ongoing for more than three
years. In May 2006, the Czech government formally requested that the
United States consider placing missile defenses in the Czech Republic.10
During the summer of 2006, the MDA conducted formal studies of sites in
Poland and the Czech Republic and, on November 30, 2006, announced it
had issued a noncompetitive contract to the Boeing Company to support
locating, designing, and establish a Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) missile complex in Europe.11 Even though formal negotiations with Poland
and the Czech Republic had not technically begun, the U.S. Army was
designated the lead service in October 2006 for the proposed interceptor
site in Poland. On December 27, 2006, just days after President Bush had
replaced Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense, the new secretary, Robert Gates, recommended to President Bush that the United States place
10 ground-based interceptors in Poland and an advanced radar in the
Czech Republic.12

Missile Defense in Europe


Meanwhile, tensions between Moscow and Washington had been

mounting. On December 13, 2006, shortly before Gates gave his endorsement to President Bush, Yuri Baluyevsky, the head of the Russian general
staff, publicly challenged U.S. plans. Speaking at a gathering of foreign
military attachs in Moscow, Baluyevsky declared: The creation of a
U.S. anti-missile base cannot be viewed otherwise than as a major reconfiguration of the American military presence. Vanguard groupings of the
U.S. armed forces in Europe have until now had no strategic components.
This raises the question as to who U.S. antimissile plans are really targeted against, and what kind of implications they may have for Russia
and Europe at large. He also expressed concern over the potential damage that may be caused to Russias environment by the nuclear warheads
of missiles shot down over Russian soil. Finally, Baluyevsky suggested
that Russia might chose to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range
Nuclear Forces Treaty banning U.S. and Russian ground-launched cruise
and ballistic missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.13
In early 2007, the Bush administration requested that formal negotiations
begin with both Poland and the Czech Republic, and discussions began in
May. At this point the cooperative nature of proposed agreements were
described in general terms, including that the Untied States and Poland
(and the United States and the Czech Republic) would become strategic
partners, that cooperation in missile defense was of mutual interest, that
some forum such as a strategic cooperation consultative group would serve
as a mechanism for discussing particulars, that there would be information
sharing, and that there would be a sharing of workload by the host country. To kick off the negotiations, Secretary Robert Gates traveled to Warsaw
to meet with Polish President Lech Kaczynski on April 24, 2007.
For several reasons, not all European leaders were pleased with the Bush
administrations decision to undertake formal discussions with Poland
and the Czech Republic. For example, there were southeastern European
countries, such as Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Turkey, that would not
benefit from the proposed American antimissile system even though they
were located closer to Iran. Lt. General Henry Obering, the new director of the MDA, acknowledged that interceptors based in Poland would
not be able to protect southeastern Europe, but he suggested that separate systems might provide the necessary protection. Then, too, there was
the fear that the Bush administration was ignoring NATO and the European Union. This concern was forcibly addressed by German Chancellor
Angela Merkel in a March 13, 2007 interview. Germany prefers a solution
within NATO, she declared, and an open dialogue with Russia regarding the proposed U.S. antimissile program. It was the chancellors opinion
that European missile defense was a project for the alliance collectively.
Washington officials indicated their willingness to inform its allies and
Russia on its plans, but refused to provide NATO a voice in its antimissile program for Europe. French President Jacques Chirac argued that we


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

must be very careful, as regards this project, not to encourage the creation
of new dividing lines in Europe or the return to an obsolete order.14
Ignoring these concerns, the MDA requested $310.4 million in February
2007 for FY-2008 to begin site preparation and construction of the missile defense sites in Eastern Europe. Deployment of the Third Site systems was scheduled to begin in 2011 and to be completed by 2013 at a
total cost of $4.04 billion. Observers concerned about U.S. defense spending may not have regarded this as a significant sum, but for the MDA it
represented a major commitment to the European deployment. That this
commitment was a high priority for the Bush administration was evidenced by an unusual letter sent to Vice President Richard Cheney, but
addressed to him in his role as president of the U.S. Senate, and to House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Dated May 21, 2007, the letter signed by Secretary
of Defense Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the Congress to fully fund the Presidents FY-2008 request of $310 million to field
missile defense capabilities in Europe. Stating that Some Iranian missiles can already reach parts of Europe, the letter warned that a reduction
in funding would delay, if not terminate, the fielding of missile defense
assets in Europe, reducing U.S. security and that of our European allies.15
Here was yet another example of the administrations proclivity toward
unilateral action.
* * *
At the G-8 Summit in early June 2007, the difficulties and complexities
of proposed U.S. missile defenses in Europe were on full display. In the
weeks preceding the G-8 Summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin had
set the Bush administrationand the worldback on its heels with talk
of Russian missiles aimed at Europe in retaliation for proposed U.S. missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic. Thus, the Bush administration thought there might be a G-8 confrontation over its proposed
missile defense system. Then on June 7, Putin proposed a technical and
policy solution that the Pentagon should have thought of first: establishing a missile defense radar site at the existing Qabala early warning radar
station in Azerbaijan.
Immediately following Putins surprise proposal, the question was how
would the administration react? President George W. Bush said the proposal was an interesting suggestion and seemed to welcome a policy
shift, but others in the administration appeared to immediately reject
the offer. One does not choose sites for missile defense out of the blue,
snapped Secretary of State Rice in an interview with the Associated Press.
Its geometry and geography as to how you intercept a missile.16 But in
that short undiplomatic comment, Rice appeared not to appreciate either
the geometrical or the geographical logic in Putins proposal.
Russia had done its homework and proposed a site that was better for
a missile defense from both American and Russian technical and policy

Missile Defense in Europe


points of view. Because of its location farther south, relative to the original
sites Washington proposed in Poland and the Czech Republic, the Azerbaijan option had several advantages. At that location, missile defenses could
cover all of Europe, including southeastern Europe, under the umbrella of
the proposed U.S. ground-based system. Also, in an actual missile versus
missile battle, the Azerbaijan site would minimize that problem of nuclear
debris falling on Russia if U.S. missile defense interceptors sent Iranian
missiles careening off course. However, a radar at Azerbaijan would not
be able to see Russian missile launches going over the pole toward
America, which meant that it could not be used to defend America from
Within a week, Defense Secretary Gates quashed Putins idea, declaring that the Azerbaijan radar site could complement, but not replace, the
proposed site in the Czech Republic. He did, however, commit to work
with Russia on optimizing the coverage of Europe from short-range missiles, although the arrangements for meetings of U.S. and Russian experts
to further explore U.S.-Russian missile defense cooperation could take
months. Moscow apparently felt this cold shoulder toward its suggestions
validated its concerns about U.S. intentions. Gates reported on June 15
that in his meeting with Russian Minister of Defense Anatoly Serdyukov,
the subject did not even come up.
At the G-8 Summit, Putin also proposed locating the U.S. missile defense
systems in Turkey, Iraq, or even on sea-based platforms. The Iraqi officials initial reaction focused on the fear that a U.S. missile defense site
in Iraq could provide a new target, and new motivations, for insurgents.
Two weeks later, during his visit with President Bush at Kennebunkport,
Putin proposed locating a radar in southern Russia near Armavir, about
450 miles north of the Iranian border. Putin also proposed involving other
countries through the NATO-Russia council, established in 2002, thereby
eliminating the need for facilities in Poland or the Czech Republic. Again,
Bush seemed to respond open mindedly, but still insisted the sites in
Poland and the Czech Republic were required.17
In putting forward his proposals to locate U.S. missile defenses in Azerbaijan or in southern Russia, Putin questioned the efficacy of the proposed
sites in Poland and the Czech Republic. Repeatedly the U.S. Congress had
withheld funding for construction at these sites. If Congress had become
increasingly skeptical, Putins proposals suggested that they had reason
to be. Perhaps the two sites were not optimum. Also, under the agreements the administration sought with Poland and the Czech Republic,
the proposed missile defense sites would essentially become sovereign
U.S. territory, similar to an embassy. It remained to be seen whether Poland
or the Czech Republic would agree to this arrangement, and perhaps neither Russia nor Azerbaijan would agree to it either. To complicate the issue
further, on June 17, 2007, Irans Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad
Ali Hosseini said that Russian officials had indicated to Tehran that Putin


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

did not intend for his Azerbaijan proposal to provoke Iran. It seems Russia does not plan to make decisions that may cause instability and insecurity in the region, where it [Russia] is located, Hosseini said, reminding
all concerned that Azerbaijan shares borders with both Russia to the north
and Iran to the south.
Putin understood that Washington was in no rush to deploy U.S. missile defenses in Eastern Europe to defend against an Iranian threat. Even
if it were, the American systems that could be deployed in the near term
would not be effective under realistic operational conditions. The MDA
had indicated that, at best, they could currently handle only what they
called an unsophisticated threat, that is, just one or two missiles from
Iran, with no decoys or countermeasures. The MDA definition of the supposed threat raised a significant question: Would Iran be so suicidal as to
attack Europe or the United States with only one or two missiles and then
sit back and wait for the consequences?
From the outset, the Poland/Czech Republic arrangements raised a serious question about what state the antimissiles were defending against?
Was it really to defend against Iran, as advertised, or was it an attempt
by the Pentagon to locate new military forces close to Russia and/or to
defend the United States from a Russian missile attack? Also, by establishing new U.S. military forces in Poland and the Czech Republic, the
arrangement provided comfort to some Polish and Czech officials who saw
it as a renewed American commitment to the defense and security of their
countries vis--vis Russia. In both countries, however, the overall public
reaction was quite the opposite. Opinion polls showed that 60 to 70 percent
of the general populations in these countries opposed the creation of U.S.
antimissile sites on their territory.
In October 2007, at a news conference following the Russia-European
Union summit in Portugal, President Putin drew the analogy with the
Cuban missile crisis in 1962 when the Soviet Union based missiles in Cuba
that could easily reach the Untied States. The situation is quite similar
technologically for us, Putin said. We have withdrawn the remains of
bases from Vietnam and Cuba, but such threats are being created near
our borders.18 Just as 46 years ago America saw Russian missiles in Cuba
as an alarming threat, Russia clearly felt that the proposed U.S. missile
defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic were too close to its territory. Of course, the Soviet missiles in Cuba were offensive, whereas the
proposed U.S. interceptors in Poland were to be defensive. Nevertheless,
because the U.S. proposal flew in the face of the Joint Declaration issued in
conjunction with the Moscow Treaty, signed by Presidents Bush and Putin,
it was understandable that the Russian president was annoyed. Putin also
noted that the U.S. decision to deploy missile defenses close to Russia was
presaged by the unilateral withdrawal in 2002 of the United States from
the 1972 ABM Treaty, which President Nixon and Soviet Communist Party
Secretary Leonid Brezhnev signed in Moscow.

Missile Defense in Europe


Given Washingtons unilateral handling of the aforementioned accords,

it is not surprising that Russia regarded the proposed U.S. interceptors as
potentially offensive. These U.S. interceptor missiles were to be two-stage
variants of the proven Pegasus missiles, which have enough payload and
thrust to carry satellites into low-earth orbit. Accordingly, these missiles
could easily carry nuclear warheads aimed at targets in Russia. Moscow
was unwilling to take the Pentagons word that these missiles were only
for defense and would not carry a lethal offensive payload. Russias suggested verification and inspection provisions to accompany the deployment of U.S. missile defenses in Europe could take years of negotiations
to reach an agreement. The Bush officials, however, were determined to
get cement poured in Europe, literally at the proposed missile defense
sites, and figuratively in terms of concrete agreements with Poland and
the Czech Republic. This view was obviously based on the premise that,
once such action was taken, it would be difficult for a new administration
to halt the program. Another stake in the ground, critics complained.
The Pentagon would accept nothing that might derail the deployment
of U.S. missile defenses in Eastern Europe beyond the time remaining for
the Bush administration. Yet, the MDA had spent five years in discussions
with Poland and the Czech Republic, and the desired agreements were
still not in hand. Even if the first agreements were signed in 2008, serious issues would remain to be resolved in the last few months left in the
Bush administration. Accepting the Putin proposal would have left it up
to the next American president to decide whether to establish U.S. missile
defenses in Europe, but the Bush administration wanted the matter settled
before its term was up. In addition, the Pentagon felt that Azerbaijan is
too close to Russia from a military standpoint for its comforttoo much
under the thumb of Russia.
Putins references to the existing Azerbaijan radar site may have meant
that he intended for it to be a Russian-managed or -controlled site, a situation that the Pentagon was not likely to accept. The existing Russian
arrangement with the Qabala radar station in Azerbaijan was a 10-year
lease that would expire in 2012, but had an option for renewal. Putins
proposal, however, opened up new options for U.S. cooperation that
America needed, and that would carry over to the Obama administration. For example, a second site was needed for a powerful, transportable
forward-based radar whose location had yet to be determined but was
intended to be closer to Iran than the site in the Czech Republic. Negotiations over this second radar site could bring additional Russian objections. As for the 10 new interceptors the administration proposed to base
in Poland, they were not yet developed or tested and, at the time, were not
scheduled to be tested until 2010.19
During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing with on April 11,
2007, the director of the Missile Defense Agency Lt. General Obering
explained that the agency was requesting money for 10 interceptors for


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

Europe or, if not in Europe, for U.S. locations. He said that if agreement on
the European sites took too long to wrap up, then the agency wanted to
buy 10 interceptors for the American sites instead. Why? asked Senator
Bill Nelson from Florida. We dont want to lose the money, responded
* * *
If Poland and the Czech Republic each had their own reasons for agreeing to Americas basing requests, they also shared some doubts. Neither
country faced a threat from Iran, but by hosting U.S. missile defenses in
their territory, they could motivate new animosity in Iran and among
Muslim populations toward Poland and the Czech Republic. In an actual
ballistic missile attack, Poland and the Czech Republic would become, as
simply a matter of ordinary military tactics, the first targets that an enemy
would attack. By attacking the X-band radar, an enemy could blind the
system so that it could not see attacking missiles, and by attacking the
interceptors in their silos, an enemy could disable the interceptors themselves. This meant that beyond the threat that other European countries
might face, Poland and the Czech Republic could require special missile
or other effective defenses designed just to protect those two sites.

Director of Missile Defense Agency Lt. General Henry A. Obering (left), and Polish
President Lech Kaczynski. Photo by Airman 1st Class Keyonna Fennell. (Courtesy:
Department of Defense)

Missile Defense in Europe


Poland and the Czech Republic might also request other security guarantees for taking on the new risk of becoming targets. Obering had told
the press in January 2007, however, that MDA had no plans to put Patriot
or Theater High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems at the proposed European sites. Not that Patriot or THAAD could necessarily be
depended on, but the MDA did not plan to deploy Patriot or THAAD at
the European sites for deterrence, as it had in Japan. If either Poland
or the Czech Republic wanted to buy missile defense systems such as
Patriot or THAAD, however, that would be a different situation. Also,
to the extent that Russia saw the proposed U.S. missile defenses as a
threat, Russia could readily retaliate in serious ways toward Poland or
the Czech Republic, especially if U.S.-Russian relations turned hostile.
For example, President Putin had threatened that Russia might target
Poland and the Czech Republic with the deployment of medium-range
Iskander offensive missiles in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad on the
Polish border.21
Taken more broadly, Europe as a whole also did not face a threat from
Iran, but by cooperating with the United States, Poland and the Czech
Republic might become a more frequent target of terrorists or even
cause Europe to be viewed less favorably by Iran. In turn, the potential
impact of the U.S. plans for missile defenses in Europe also raised concerns in NATO. The bilateral agreements being sought with Poland and
the Czech Republic were outside of NATO and detrimental to the spirit
of NATO.
The Bush plan threatened to divide Europe and raised questions about
the effectiveness of Article 5 of the NATO charter. Article 5 held, in a general sense, that an attack on any one member of NATO was to be considered an attack on all members. Many policymakers in the United States
and Europe argued that the establishment of any missile defense system
in Europe should proceed solely under NATO auspices, rather than on
a bilateral basis with just three NATO partnersthe U.S., Poland, and
the Czech Republic. At the same time, there were many other difficult
items on the NATO agenda, not the least of which were the U.S. call for
increased NATO support in Afghanistan and the expansion of NATO
to include Croatia and Albania, and perhaps eventually Georgia and
Ukraine. Russia strongly opposed enlargement of NATO in general, and
NATO expansion to include countries of the former Soviet Union in particular. The NATO Summit in Bucharest Romania in early April 2008 discussed all these contentious issues. As for the proposed antimissile shield,
the Bucharest Summit did not confront the issue of its integration with
NATO and, instead, issued a diplomatically supportive endorsement of
the Bush plan.22
Thus the Polish and Czech people, as well as NATO, found themselves
in the middle of an international struggle over missile defenses in Europe.
This struggle had already pitted Russia and the United States against each


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

other in stressful ways not seen since the end of the Cold War and raised
questions about the cohesiveness of NATO.
* * *
Under the Bush administration, the Department of Defense spent about
$10 billion per year on missile defense, a large enough sum to attract the
attention of Congress year after year. At the April 11, 2007, Senate Armed
Services Committee hearing, referred to previously, Brian Green, deputy
assistant secretary of defense for Strategic Capabilities, OSD [Office of Secretary of Defense] Policy, stated that the Third Site arrangements would
be executive agreements and, therefore, would not require congressional
approval. Congress apparently did not agree. In acting on the FY-2008
budget, the House of Representatives cut out all funds, about $85 million, for preparation and construction of the European sites. The House,
however, did authorize $42.7 million for the development of the new twostage interceptors needed for the site in Poland. The Senate concurred,
cutting all funds for site preparation and construction. Green also said that
although the administration would consult with NATO, the agreement
on the interceptors and radar would be bilateral agreements and would
require U.S. ownership. Senator Nelson asked him what would happen if
either European nation decided not to go forward. Green had no answer.
Many in Congress understood that a considerable number of Czech
and Polish citizens opposed the proposal because they feared that the
U.S. plan would not lead to enhanced security, but rather would create
new dangers and insecurities. Thus the participants of the International
Conference against the Militarization of Europe, which took place in
Prague on May 5, 2007, issued the Prague Declaration, rejecting the proposed U.S. missile defense system in Europe. There were also members
of Congress who harbored doubts about the effectiveness of the proposed
systemwould it really work? On the occasion of the July 2007 visit of Polish President Lech Kaczynski to Washington D.C. and Vandenberg AFB,
then Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama expressed this
concern diplomatically: If we can responsibly deploy missile defenses
that would protect us and our allies we shouldbut only when the system works. We need to make sure any missile defense system would be
effective before deployment.23
In its actions on the FY-2008 budget, Congress repeatedly expressed its
concerns. The House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Armed
Services Committee, or both, stated that the proposed deployment was
premature, questioned the adequacy of the proposed testing plan, called
for formal studies of alternatives to the Bush administrations proposed
system, limited funding until bilateral agreements with Poland and the
Czech Republic have been negotiated and ratified, required a joint Department of Defense/Department of States study of how the proposed system would be integrated into NATO, and required a joint Defense and

Missile Defense in Europe


State report on the role that shorter range missile defense systems such
as Aegis and THAAD might play in the proposed system. In addition,
Congress required that before site preparation and construction could
begin, a study must be completed by an independent federally funded
research and development center of options for the missile defense of
Europe. Before funds would be authorized to buy and deploy interceptors
in Poland, Congress also required the secretary of defense to certify that
the proposed two-stage interceptor has demonstrated, through successful, operationally realistic flight testing, a high probability of working in
an operationally effective manner.24 The old adage, the president proposes, the Congress disposes, was at work, and Congress was telling the
president in no uncertain terms that it controlled the purse strings.
Russias hostile reaction to the proposed U.S. missile defense sites relatively close to its borders also troubled members of Congress. In response
to the proposed U.S. military sites, Russia had announced the successful
development of new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), warned
that its nuclear weapons might have to be aimed at Europe, put its strategic bombers back in the air on training flights, and threatened to pull out
of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty. On December 12,
2007, President Putin also announced that Russia had suspended its participation in the treaty restricting deployments of Conventional Forces in
Europe, potentially bringing back the Cold War. By cutting funds for site
construction in Europe, Congress sent a message to President Bush that it
did not want a new Cold War with Russia and that the issues in Poland
and the Czech Republic were with their independent-minded citizens,
not with their governments that supported Bush. Congress was emphatic
about the emerging situation, especially with not starting a new Cold War
with Russia.
In early March 2008, President Bush tried to smooth relations with
Russia by writing Putin that they should recognize the legacy that both
presidents are leaving behindan obvious reference to the Russian and
American elections taking place in 2008. President Putin, subsequently
acknowledged the existence of the letter and stated, Its a serious document and we analyzed it carefully. Reportedly the letter addressed several items that had been contentious between Russia and the United States
including missile defense in Europe; the Treaty of Conventional Forces in
Europe, which Russia had suspended a year earlier in part in protest of
U.S. missile defense plans; and the Strategic Arms Reduction treaty, which
was due to expire in December 2009.25 Gates and Rice traveled to Moscow
on March 17, 2008, for two-plus-two talks with their counterparts, Defense
Minister Anatoliy Eduardovich Serdyukov and Foreign Affairs Minister
Sergey Lavrov. They also met with President-Elect Dimitri Medvedev.
Gates, who had fallen on the ice outside his home and broken his arm on
February 12, joked that with his arm in a sling he would not be nearly as
difficult a negotiator. Well see, Medvedev rejoined.26


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

Gates told Moscow that to calm their concerns over the proposed missile defense system, the United States would promise not to turn it on until
Iran had demonstrated that it had a missile capable of reaching Europe.
Despite this offer, an unusually warm welcome by Putin, and the diplomatic effort by Gates and Rice to reach out to Moscow by traveling out
of the usual rotation (the next such meeting was to have been in Washington, D.C.), Russias fundamental objections to the proposed antimissile
system were not alleviated.27
* * *
To accomplish its program, the Bush administration needed to negotiate two different agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic. First,
general BMD agreements were required to create the basis for cooperation with the United States and establish the understandings between the
parties as to their respective roles. Second, supplementary status of forces
agreements (SOFA) were needed with both Poland and the Czech Republic to define such matters as the legal status of U.S. military and civilian
personnel working at the proposed sites, civil and criminal jurisdictions,
property liabilities, and employment for host-country nationals.
On March 3, 2008, the Bush administration concluded negotiations with
the Czech Republic establishing a bilateral ballistic missile defense cooperation pact that was formally announced a month later. Secretary of State
Rice signed the agreement with Czech Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg in
Prague on July 8. In its bilateral negotiations with Washington, Poland had
lagged behind the Czech Republic, due in part to internal politics. The elections in October 2007 changed the Polish government and the next month
the new government was formed with Donald Tusk as the new prime
minister. Tusk was committed to working within a NATO framework,
while also expressing Polands interest in its own security before that of
the United States. Even so, the Polish government on August 14, 2008 concluded negotiations for ballistic missile defense cooperation. Secretary Rice
signed the BMD agreement with Polish Foreign minister Sikorski in Warsaw on August 20. Twenty-four hours later Russias Deputy Chief of Staff
General Anatoly Nogovitsyn warned Poland that it was exposing itself
to a strike-100 per cent. He told the Russian Interfax news agency: By
hosting these, Poland is making itself a target. This is 100 per cent certain. It
becomes a target for attack. Such targets are destroyed as a first priority.28
The Polish government had indicated earlier that it was not fear of Iranian missiles that prompted their decision to join the U.S. missile defense
program. When Sikorski visited Washington in January, he made it clear
that his government does not feel directly threatened by Iran. Rather, he
noted, by having the United States locate a base in Poland, this will make
[our] security mutually dependent for decades. The Polish prime minister
added that with U.S. antimissiles would also come American-supported
modernization of Polish military forcesit would be one package.29

Missile Defense in Europe


In the face of Russias threatening posture, the recently concluded agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic would have to be ratified by
their respective parliaments. The prospects were poor for that happening
before President Bushs second term ended. Washington completed the
SOFA with the Czech Republic as Secretary Gates signed the agreement
with Czech Defense Minister Vlasta Parkanova at London on September 19,
2008. The SOFA for Poland, however, was still unresolved. Complicating
the process was the fact the ratification of the BMD agreements and the
SOFA became intertwined. Since Washington had not completed its negotiations with Warsaw over a SOFA and, since both agreements required
ratification by their respective parliaments, delays compounded.
The Czech Republic decided that construction could begin on the radar
site once both of its agreements with the United States were ratified, but
Poland decided that construction could not begin at the missile interceptor site until all agreements had been ratified in both parliaments. By September 2008, elections were looming in the United States and progress
was halted on Bushs proposal for missile defenses in Europe. On October 29, 2008, the Czech Republic announced that it would place further
efforts toward ratification on hold until after the inauguration of the next
American president. We want a delay, explained Czech Prime Minister
Mirek Topolanek, to make sure about the attitude of the new American
administration.30 In November, immediately after the U.S. presidential
elections, Poland placed its ratification process on hold recognizing that
until the new Obama administration had completed its Ballistic Missile
Defense Review and determined its policy toward missile defenses in
Europe, little progress could be achieved.31
* * *
During 2007 and 2008, the U.S. Congress began calling for a new
approach to missile defense in Europe. In the House of Representatives,
Democratic Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, chair of the Strategic Forces
Subcommittee of the House Committee on Armed Services, focused attention on the need to defend against the existing threat from Irans short and
medium range missiles that had already been flight-tested. She and others in Congress also called for defending U.S. troops overseas from shortrange missile attack, including U.S. troops stationed in Europe. Tauscher
pointed out the capabilities of the mobile, shorter-range U.S. missile
defense systems, such as the Navys Aegis BMD system, and the Armys
THAAD and Patriot systems, and worked to shift funding to such systems and away from the fixed ground-based missile system designed to
defeat ICBMs. Significantly, Tauscher also declared that missile defenses
in Europe should not be bilateral arrangements, but should be under the
umbrella of NATO, and be NATO-ized. Some Republican members of
Congress also supported these suggestions and favored using the Navys
Aegis BMD system that had been successfully flight-tested.


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

For FY-2009, the Bush administration requested $712 million for missile defense in Europe. Once again Congress expressed its concerns that
were incorporated into a Continuing Resolution signed into law by President Bush on September 30, 2008. Congress had approved $467 million
for the European sites and for development and testing of the two-stage
interceptor. Funding for the radar site, however, was withheld until the
Czech Republic ratified its basing agreement with the United States and
the SOFA. Similarly, funds were withheld for the Polish interceptor site
until after both the Polish and Czech governments ratified their basing
agreements and after Poland ratified its SOFA with the United States. Also,
Congress required that the secretary of defense certify that the proposed
two-stage interceptor has demonstrated through successful, operationally realistic flight testing, a high probability of working in an operationally effective manner and the ability to accomplish the mission.32
But at this point, no further progress was made regarding the bilateral
agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic; thus, for the remainder
of the Bush administration, most of the funds that Congress had authorized were frozen. Going into the November 2008 elections, the question was would the next president continue the Bush program? Senator
McCain had indicated strongly that he would, but Senators Clinton and
Obama had been more circumspect.
After Barack Obamas election as president, his transition team posted
its policy statement about national missile defense: The Obama-Biden
Administration will support missile defense, but ensure that it is developed in a way that is pragmatic and cost-effective; and, most importantly,
does not divert resources from other national security priorities until we
are positive the technology will protect the American public.33
What this policy would mean in practice, once the Obama administration began to govern, kept defense contractors and think tanks wondering
for nearly a year, given that the Obama administration had many new priorities. The new administration quickly showed itself to be pragmatic, but
considering that the Bush administration had been spending more than
$10 billion per year on missile defense, how would the Obama administration interpret cost-effective? Also, how could the Obama administration
be positive that missile defense technology would protect the American
public, let alone our allies in Europe? More fundamental, perhaps, was the
question, Would the next U.S. president see the threat in the same terms as
had President Bush? From its first days in office, the Bush administration
had been emphasizing the threat from attacks with ICBMs from North
Korea or Iran. How would the Obama administration view the missile
threat, and what systems would it select to deal with that threat?


North Korean and Iranian

Missile Programs:
Their Regional Impact

The Bush administrations decision to deploy a ballistic missile defense

system, according to Washington officials, was designed only to destroy
missiles launched at the United States or its allies by the remaining members of the axis of evil. If administration officials hoped that this demonstration of American technology would cause Pyongyang and Tehran
to halt their efforts to build ballistic missiles, they were disappointed. Yet
while Washington emphasized its determination to erect a defense against
North Korean and Iranian long-range missiles, it was not their ballistic
missiles that were the major concern; rather, it was the cargo the missiles
might be carrying. Consequently, the Bush administration also sought to
prevent these two countries from developing weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear warheads. Although the efforts of America and
other nations failed to prevent North Koreas joining the nuclear club,
discussions continued to secure restrictions on Pyongyangs missiles and
to persuade the North Koreans to restrict their nuclear activities. In the
Middle East, multilateral negotiations have persisted in seeking to limit
Irans nuclear programs to civilian uses while drawing Eastern European
countries into a possible defense network against Tehrans missiles.
Moreover, the U.S. announced deployment of a missile defense system,
which epitomized the heady unilateralism that dominated George W.
Bushs first term, had a ripple effect. It raised security questions that
impacted nations in different regions of the world. Since the administration initially ruled out direct diplomatic contacts with the designated rogue
states, officials in Pyongyang and Tehran could only wonder whether
utterances by various neoconservatives suggesting the need for regime


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

changes was driving U.S. policies. When North Korea responded aggressively with missile and nuclear tests, these actions persuaded concerned
Japanese officials to expand their missile defense activities and raised fears
in some quarters that Japan might go nuclear. With the Bush administrations initial Pacific focus, Beijing immediately became suspicious that
these defensive systems were aimed at diminishing the deterrent effect
of its ballistic missiles. Soon Washington found itself concerned about a
modestly growing Chinese missile arsenal, including antimissile systems.
As a result of China and Pakistans missile activity, Indiawho had earlier rejected the idea of missile defensebegan to reconsider its decision.
Finally, the possibility of a hostile Iran equipped with ballistic missiles
armed with nuclear warheads, which Washington claimed required antimissile sites in Eastern Europe, also found Israel focusing considerably
more attention on its own fledgling antimissile system.
* * *
Americas concern with North Koreas ambitious program for developing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons predated the arrival of
George W. Bushs administration. The recurring crises that have defined
negotiations with North Korea began in the mid-1980s and stemmed
from many factors, including Pyongyangs errors in judgment, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) missteps, and Washingtons poorly
managed policies. After North Korea joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty
(NPT) in late 1985, the initial crisis arose when the IAEA sent the wrong
supplemental safeguards document, which Pyongyang refused to sign.
The Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula
of December 1992 temporarily resolved the crisis only for it to flare up
again in March 1993 when North Korea withdrew from the NPT.
The Clinton administrations diplomatic efforts temporarily persuaded
North Korea to halt developing nuclear weapons, exporting short-range
missiles, and experimenting with longer range ballistic missiles. In the
October 1994 Agreed Framework, Pyongyang agreed to freeze and eventually dismantle its nuclear arms project in exchange for Washingtons assistance in constructing two new more proliferation-resistant, small nuclear
reactors; providing an interim supply of heavy-fuel oil; easing some trade
restrictions; and gradually improving the relations between the two countries. In particular, Washington was to stop threatening North Korea. U.S.
diplomats believed they got what they wanted in halting North Koreas
processing of plutonium, but assistance in constructing the two small reactors was delayed. Since congressional Republicans denounced the deal as
appeasement, the Clinton administration did not insist on funds to construct the new reactors. Consequently, the first replacement reactor, which
was to be completed in 2003, fell three years behind schedule. Moreover,
the agreed upon fuel oil was not always delivered on time and a presidential visit by President Clinton to Pyongyang failed to materialize.1

North Korean and Iranian Missile Programs


Meanwhile, North Korean technicians had been pressing ahead with

their development of ballistic missiles. After obtaining a Soviet-made
Scud-B missile from Egypt, by 1984 they had employed reverse engineering to create the Hwasong-5, and in June 1990 successfully tested an upgraded version, the Hwasong-6, which was believed to have a range of
500600 kilometers. In the late 1980s, North Korea developed an extended
version of the Scud, the No Dong (ND)-1, designed to have a range of
1,000 to 1,300 kilometers. Pyongyang launched four test missiles in May
1993, but one apparently was a ND-1 that traveled 500 kilometers. Their
target was believed to be a buoy in the direction of Japan, an act that Tokyo
authorities regarded as threatening their security. The test also caught the
attention of officials in Washington.2
Initially American officials, concerned with Pyongyangs export of missiles, imposed economic sanctions in March 1992 against specific North
Korea companies for their traffic in missile components. After the 1994
Agreed Framework, the first of a series of bilateral missile discussions
took place in April 1996, with Washington officials urging Pyongyang to
join the voluntary international Missile Technology Control Regime to
regulate sales of ballistic missiles, components, and technology. The North
Koreans emphasized that these transactions provided a significant amount
of revenue and insisted, unsuccessfully, on compensation for any financial
losses resulting from halting such sales. In a June meeting the next year,
after the United States failed to stop the North Korean deployment of its
No Dong missile or its trade in Scud missiles, Washington began imposing
additional economic sanctions on Pyongyang. The United Nations and
other countries also applied economic penalties.
The so-called Rumsfeld Commissions report in July 1998 claimed that
North Korea and Iran had the capability to produce operational long-range
ballistic missiles with little or no warning from U.S. intelligence agencies. The Commissions unclassified executive summary emphasized that:
The newer ballistic missile-equipped nations [North Korea, Iran, and
Iraq] . . .would be able to inflict major destruction on the U.S. within about
five years of a decision to acquire such a capability. . . . During several of
those years, the U.S. might not be aware that such a decision had been
made. The summary also insisted that any nation that possessed a welldeveloped, Scud-based ballistic missile infrastructure could, within five
years of making the decision, be ready to test an intercontinental ballistic
missile (ICBM). North Korea and Iran, who the commission claimed to
be developing nuclear weapons, have put a high priority on threatening
U.S. territory, and each is even now pursuing advanced ballistic missile
capabilities to pose a direct threat to U.S. territory.3 In his 2003 critique,
Greg Thielmann, formerly of the State Departments Bureau of Intelligence and Research, questioned the Rumsfeld Commissions assumption
that a single-stage, short-range ballistic missile could be enhanced into
a multiple-stage ICBM. This notion of a feasible straight-line, relatively


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

rapid, and predictable progression was, he argued, both ahistorical and

On August 31, 1998, North Korea launched a three-stage Taepo Dong
(TD)-1 missile, with a range of 1,500 to 2,000 kilometers in an unsuccessful
attempt to place a satellite in orbit. Satellite photos revealed that the initial
stage was a ND-1 and the second a Hwasong-6. Western analysts, observing
that after launch the first and second stage separated at 300 and 1,380 kilometers, respectively, were surprised at North Koreas ability to design and
manufacture multiple-stage missiles. Analysts were even more surprised
that there was a third stage, although it failed just before reaching orbit.
In this tense environment, the administration held an additional round
of bilateral missiles talks with Pyongyang. The October 1, 1998 meeting
resulted in little progress as the North Koreans rejected the U.S. request
that it end its missile programs in exchange for the lifting of economic
sanctions. The talks in March 1999 resulted only in Washington describing them as serious and intensive; however, in September, Pyongyang
agreed to a moratorium on its testing of long-range missiles as long as
the negotiations continued. The agreement, negotiated by Defense Secretary William Perry, held for several years. In return Washington would lift
some of its economic sanctions. At the same time, a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate concluded that, by 2015, North Korea would most likely
possess an ICBM able to carry a 200-kilogram warhead to targets on the
American mainland. The continuing talks, in July 2000, found Pyongyang
demanding $1 billion a year compensation in return for ceasing its missile
sales, a proposal Washington immediately rejected. In subsequent meetings with various groups, North Korean leader Kim Jong II suggested he
might halt developing rockets when the United States or other interested parties stepped forward and launches our satellites. While the
State Department claimed to be seriously considering this offer, nothing
positive resulted.5
North Korean officials had hoped that the Clinton era negotiations
would continue with President Bushs administration. In March 2001,
Secretary of State Colin Powell told the press that the new administration planned to engage with North Korea to pick up where President
Clinton left off. Some promising elements were left on the table and we
will be examining those elements. Indicating that negotiations were not
imminent, Bush informed the media on March 7 that he looked forward
to, at some point in the future, having a dialogue with the North Koreans,
but that any negotiations would require complete verification of the terms
of a potential agreement. Bush went on to question whether the North
Koreans were keeping all terms of all agreements. Not surprisingly, the
Korean Central News Agency responded by calling the U.S. new attitude
hostile and noted that the Pyongyang government remained fully prepared for both dialogue and war. Yet at a Moscow meeting on August 4,
Kim Jong II reiterated his promise to hold off any ballistic missile flight-

North Korean and Iranian Missile Programs


tests until 2003, a pledge that Pyongyang modified in mid-September 2002

to an indefinite period as part of an agreement with Tokyo.
The Bush administration showed little interest in meeting with Pyongyang for nearly two years until after the Japanese opened discussions with
North Korea. The president had publicly repudiated South Koreas efforts
to foster friendly relations between the North and South. He discouraged
South Korea from providing the North with electricity, spoke disparagingly of Kim Jong Il and, finally, in his January 2002 State of the Union
address labeled North Korea a member of an axis of evil. Bush also
refused to reaffirm the previous administrations October 12, 2000 pledge
to North Korea of no hostile intent and adopted a unilateral position.
Interpreting this American position as threatening, North Korea retreated
to its pre-1994 demands. During Assistant Secretary of State James Kellys
visit to Pyongyang on October 3, 2002, Washington charged that North
Korean officials acknowledge the existence of a covert nuclear program
in violation of the Agreed Frameworka charge the North Koreans
repeatedly denied. The 1994 Agreed Framework restricted North Koreas
efforts to obtain plutonium. This alleged new violation over its uranium
program was not covered by the Agreed Framework, but was considered
by Washington officials as a violation in spirit. Consequently, heavyfuel oil shipments to North Korea were suspended in November. Pyongyang repeatedly called for a nonaggression pact in return for which they
intimated they would terminate their nuclear projects. Not receiving any
encouragement from Washington, North Korea pulled out of the Nonproliferation Treaty in January 2003, having earlier sent IAEA inspectors
home. On June 9 they formally declared they were pursuing a nuclear
weapons capability. Meanwhile in January, North Koreas ambassador to
China indicated that his government no longer felt it could go along with
the self-imposed missile moratorium any longer.6
Policymakers in the Bush administration appeared unable to agree on
policy options, especially one that would allow the search for a diplomatic
solution. Those who argued North Korea could be persuaded to abandon
its nuclear program in exchange for economic aid and other incentives,
including a guarantee of security, pushed the diplomatic option. Their more
influential opponents, however, profoundly disliked the Pyongyang government and lobbied for severe economic and political pressure to bring
about its capitulation or collapse. In 2003, one of the most outspoken hardliners, Vice President Dick Cheney, bluntly stated their position: We dont
negotiate with evil; we defeat it. A U.S. military response was not likely
since it would require dealing with 1 million North Korean soldiers and
their artillery and missiles that could easily destroy Seoula prospect that
South Korea would not relishand put at risk the 30,000 American troops
stationed nearby. Nevertheless, the ideologically driven members of the
Bush administration initially found arms control measures distasteful and
paid little attention to negotiations to expand nuclear nonproliferation.


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

They chose instead, Peter Scoblic pointed out, to denounce the nuclear
ambitions of evil countries while tolerating, occasionally facilitating, the
spread of nuclear weapons to nations that passed Washingtons current
political litmus tests. This scorning of the 1968 NPT, Scoblic has written,
was one of the administrations more bizarre and foolish stands.7
The administration continued to indicate that it wanted a peaceful solution, but it would not deal directly with the North Koreans. The search for
a political solution shifted to multilateral talks with Pyongyang. Throughout 2003, however, the Bush administration was unable to offer much
constructive assistance to the Chinesewho had emerged at the center of
the negotiationsin order to elicit concessions from the North Koreans.
Chinese Vice Minister Wang Yi told reporters the main problem we are
facing was not the North Koreans, but the lack of a helpful American
policy. The multilateral talks continued, with the United States taking on a
more positive role after President Bushs reelection. During discussions in
June 2004, Washington presented its first detailed proposal, which failed
to achieve results. The six-party talks, involving North and South Korea,
the United States, Russia, China, and Japan, continued throughout 2004
and 2005 with general recognition of a desire for a verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The inability to reach an agreement
centered, in large part, on Pyongyangs insistence on a peaceful nuclear
energy program and Washingtons refusal to endorse North Koreas possession of light-water reactors.8 At the center of the problem was North
Koreas desire for face-to-face discussions with the United States and the
Bush administrations reluctance to do so.
In 2006, Pyongyang defied its negotiating partners with new missile
flight tests and its first nuclear test. On July 45, North Korea launched
several short- and medium-range missiles, and a long-range Taepo Dong
(TD)-2 ballistic missile that could travel 3,6004,300 kilometers. Although
the TD-2 failed within a minute after launch, it prompted North Koreas
neighbors and the United States to condemn the tests and Japan to initiate an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to review possible
sanctions. Pyongyang ignored international protests on the grounds that
launching a missile was an issue that is entirely within our sovereignty.
No one has the right to dispute it. Three months later, on October 9, North
Korea conducted its first underground nuclear test that again led to international protests. The UN Security Councils Resolution 1718 imposed
additional sanctions and demanded that Pyongyang cease further nuclear
tests or launch ballistic missiles. Although some officials in Washington
worried about what they saw as the new North Korean threat, Admiral
William J. Fallon, USN, downplayed the latest North Korean effort to testfire a long-range ballistic missile. He insisted that their missiles were not
capable of reaching long distances and were not likely to achieve this feat
for a while. Moreover, Fallon declared, The fact that it [the TD-2] failed,
and the fact that apparently the last time they did this, which was eight

North Korean and Iranian Missile Programs


years ago, it was also a failure, indicates some problem. He argued that:
Before we could credibly give them a capability, or assign a capability,
theyd have to demonstrate an ability to actually get a missile off the pad
and have it fly at long range.9
In a continuing show of defiance, the North Koreans continued to testfire a number of short-range missiles during 2007 and 2008. Then on
April 5, 2009, they launched a TD-2, three-stage ballistic missile, the first
stage of which fell into the Sea of Japan, while the other stages along with
its cargo fell into the Pacific Ocean. Although Pyongyang claimed the
TD-2 placed a satellite in orbit, the U.S. Northern Command reported no
object entered into orbit. Nevertheless, American intelligence and military experts were concerned about North Koreas progress in its missile
technology. Following a UN Security Councils condemnation of its latest
missile launch, North Korea withdrew from the six-party talks, set off a
second underground nuclear test on May 25, and launched another series
of short-range missiles. In a series of test firings, North Korea launched a
total of 11 missiles on July 2 and 4, 2009. Several of these were short-range
KN-01 missiles with a 60-mile range, together with four Scuds and three
medium range No Dong missiles that traveled 240 to 310 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan. The Obama administration condemned these latest
launches, but it was the Japanese government who labeled them a serious act of provocation against the security of neighboring countries.10
* * *
Not surprisingly, officials in Tokyo and Seoul had become more and
more interested in establishing missile defenses as North Korea continued
building and testing its missiles. All of Japan and South Korea was within
reach Pyongyangs arsenal of more than 1,000 missiles. Tokyos initial, but
cautious, steps in developing an antimissile program began with a modest
grant by the Reagan administration in the late 1980s. When North Koreas
surprise ballistic missile test in August 1998 flew over Japanese territory,
it stimulated renewed interest in ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems. Consequently, the U.S.-Japanese cooperation that increased in 1999
focused on basic research on components for ship-based missile interceptors. The Japanese government decided in December 2003 to expand
its missile defense capabilities, but, in part because of Japanese constitutional restrictions, Tokyo indicated it would not tie itself to Americas
global BMD system. Government officials declared that its defense system aims at defending Japan, will be operated based on Japans independent judgment, and will not be used for the purpose of defending third
Subsequently, in May 2004, Japan approached the Unites States to
purchase nine ship-based missiles, the Standard Missile-3, which Tokyo
intended to deploy by 2007 as part of its basic antimissile system. These
interceptor missiles were to be assigned to one of Japans four Aegis-type


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

destroyers to provide protection from short- and medium-range ballistic

missiles. Tokyo also prepared to upgrade its land-based antimissile systems
by replacing its six U.S. Patriot (PAC-2) missile batteries with the newer
Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) systems. At the end of March 2008,
the Japanese completed installation of the fourth PAC-3 battery intended
to defend Tokyo. Later, in September, Japanese Air Self Defense personnel
participated in a successful test of the PAC-3 system at the White Sands
Missile Range in New Mexico. By using a pair of PAC-3 interceptors, the
Japanese battery destroyed a ballistic missile target 120 kilometers away. It
was hoped that the test might reveal what kind of debris pattern might be
expected from a successful intercept, especially over populated areas. This
episode not only established Tokyo as Washingtons first international
partner to successfully use a PAC-3 to intercept a target, it also aroused
some controversy in Japan. It sparked concern whether the nations missile defense program might have offensive capabilities and, if so, whether
it might antagonize neighboring countries.12
Japans growing role in missile defense activities, led by Tokyos expenditure of $1 billion a year, prompted Peter Flory, a U.S. assistant secretary
of defense, in 2006 to classify Japan as our largest international partner.
On March 8, U.S.-Japanese collaborative efforts resulted in a successful
experiment involving one of the four components of the original 1999
arrangement. As research director for Arms Control Today, Wade Boese,
explained, a U.S. Standard Missile-3 interceptor 88 kilometers above the
Pacific Ocean employed for the first time a Japanese-designed clamshell
nosecone. In an actual missile intercept attempt or test involving a mock
warhead, the nosecone would release a kill vehicle to collide with a target
hurtling through the atmosphere. In this test, however, only a telemetry
device was ejected. U.S. nosecones required maneuvering to release a kill
vehicle, but the Japanese model avoided the necessity of such actions.
Subsequent joint cooperation resulted in Japan conducting its initial
intercept of a ballistic missile target on December 17, 2008, employing the
U.S.-developed Aegis ballistic missile defense system. This system, which
is designed to destroy ballistic missiles with less than a 5,500-kilometer
range, uses a ship-fired interceptor that ejects a kill vehicle designed to
find and hit a designated target. On December 17, a target missile was
launched from Hawaii. The JS Kongo, a Japanese destroyer, located and
tracked the target for three minutes before firing a Standard Missile-3
interceptor, and in another three minutes the interceptors kill vehicle collided with the target 160 kilometers above the Pacific Ocean.13
North Koreas nuclear test in October 2006 raised speculation in foreign quarters that Japan might decide to create its own nuclear arsenal.
While there was heightened concern in Japan, and considerable public
discussion about the consequences of North Korean nuclear activities, the
general reaction was relatively restrained. The nuclear test, however, did
weaken a persistent public taboo regarding discussion of the possibility of

North Korean and Iranian Missile Programs


a Japanese nuclear weapons program. If some Japanese nationalists flirted

with the idea of developing their own nuclear weapons, nothing came of
it. The Japanese public in general did not demonstrate active interest in
taking any specific measures, such as establishing underground shelters,
Hajime Izumi and Katsuhisa Furukawa have noted. Rather the Japanese
media focused primarily on the radioactive contamination risks the [North
Korean] test might pose to Japan. When the public realized such a risk
did not exist, they lost interest in the issue. In Tokyo, officials were more
interested in shoring up global nonproliferation and in remaining under
the U.S. nuclear umbrella.14
If Seoul authorities began to consider deploying antimissile systems in
response to North Koreas activities, it was only after they had long sought
to develop an offensive ballistic missile arsenal. In the 1970s, South Korea
had hoped to build up its offensive missile force but found it difficult
because it lacked the industrial and technological base. Moreover, Washington resisted providing the needed technical assistance out of fear that
such action would stimulate an arms race with the North and, indeed, the
entire East Asia region. In a 1979 agreement with the United States, South
Korea was restricted to developing ballistic missiles limited to ranges of
112 miles (180 kilometers) and carrying a 500-kilogram payload. Following North Koreas expanded missile activities, Washington and Seoul
revised the original agreement in January 2001 to permit South Korea to
join the Missile Technology Control Regime and allowed it to expand its
missiles range to 186 miles (300 kilometers) with a 500 kilogram payload.
Given its new capabilities, the South rejected participation in an American
theater missile defense program in favor of deterring the North with the
increased range of its offensive missiles.
Even though Pyongyang continually enlarged its offensive missile
forces for several years, officials in Seoul were reluctant to participate in
an antimissile program because it might undermine its sunshine policy
designed to increase North-South contacts. In January 2008, South Koreas
defense minister, Kim Jang-Soo, indicated that while his government
would consider obtaining and deploying short-range missile defenses,
there were no plans to link them to U.S. antimissile systems. Instead, Seoul
deployed the Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) missile defense batteries, which relied on blast-fragmentation warheads. Initially, the South
Korean government had hoped to purchase PAC-3s from the United
States, which used the warheads kinetic energy to eliminate the target,
as the foundation of its theater missile defense system. This plan failed
when South Korean officials were confronted by domestic anti-American
protests and budget shortfalls.
Seoul desired to continue relying on its offensive missiles to deter North
Koreas missile arsenal. Increasingly tense relations prompted by Pyongyangs subsequent missile testing, however, persuaded South Korea
in February 2009 to acknowledge the need to develop and deploy an


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

independent lower-tier missile defense system in four years. This program involved U.S. Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile interceptors, a missile command-and-control center to detect and track missiles
up to a distance of 1,000 kilometers, and Standard Missiles to be placed on
three Aegis destroyers. Seouls newly found interest in antimissile programs did not eliminate the risk of destabilizing the region or initiating an
arms race. Nor was it likely that South Koreas security would be greatly
enhanced with these missile systems because of the preponderance of
the Norths missile arsenal. Without belittling Seouls efforts to employ
missile defenses to enhance its security, it should be noted, as defense
researcher Jenny Shin points out, Pyongyang missile arsenal could readily overwhelm South Koreas limited defenses, making Seouls defense
completely obsolete. Deploying missile defenses certainly has risks.15
* * *
China rejected the Bush administrations argument that it needed to
base a missile defense system in Alaska because of North Korean missile activities. Indeed, Beijing officials, as early as the Clinton presidency,
had evidenced concern about an American BMD system, combined with
its ICBMs, being employed to threaten mainland China if disagreements
arose over the status of Taiwan. On a visit to Beijing, Secretary of Defense
William S. Cohen indicated that Chinese officials opposed a U.S. antimissile defense system because they believed it would destabilize the strategic balance. After trying to convince them that the National Missile
Defense (NMD) under consideration was not directed at China, he correctly concluded, that they will continue to be opposed to NMD. The
Bush administrations deployment of an antimissile system apparently
prompted Beijings subsequent decision to modernize and expand its missile arsenal. This activity, in turn, aroused concerns, not only in Taiwan
and the United States but also in South Asia. India became concerned
about the increasing number of Chinese and Pakistani missiles.
Beijings fears were further aroused when unclassified information
from the Bush administrations initial Nuclear Posture Review appeared
in the press. The review argued that the United States should be ready
to employ nuclear weapons against China because of the combination
of Chinas developing strategic objectives and its ongoing modernization of its nuclear and non-nuclear forces. Although estimates floated
around during 20032004 that Chinas nuclear arsenal consisted of up to
400 nuclear warheads, it was much more likely that the figure was closer
to 100. Earlier intelligence estimates usually exaggerated the size of Chinese nuclear weapons deployments.16 Washingtons new policies and
actions, Joanne Tompkins wrote in 2003, found Chinas foreign policy elite
divided into three schools of thought. The first, comprising a small group
of scholars and a few military officers, believed that China should ignore
the U.S. missile defense deployment because it was a ploy to engage China

North Korean and Iranian Missile Programs


in an arms race that would gravely weaken its growing economy. Moreover, they did not believe the U.S. antimissile system would work and
thought that the next president would cancel it. A second small coterie of
Shanghai academics took the opposite approach and urged a large missile
buildupperhaps as many as 1,000 ICBMsthat could saturate any missile defense. They insisted Chinas economy could readily accommodate
such a construction program. They also argued that China should abandon its no-first-use policy, because it only emphasized the weakness of
Chinas nuclear forces.
The centrist position, the third school, was occupied by a majority of
Chinas professionals, academics, political leaders, and military officers
who believed that Bushs pursuit of a missile defense required a measured response to maintain a credible, if minimal, deterrent should a crisis
emerge regarding Taiwan. The moderates urged a three-prong approach.
China should increase the credibility of its nuclear deterrent by building
an additional 100 or 200 ballistic missiles; it should develop and deploy
multiple independently targeted reentry warheads that could increase the
probability of penetrating any U.S. defensive shield; and, finally, more
attention should be given to devising countermeasures that could disrupt
missile defenses. China already had decided to modernize and augment
its missile arsenal to counteract the U.S. missile defense system and had
begun deploying large numbers of short-range missiles along the coastline facing Taiwan. Unlike Russia, China did not possess several hundred
ICBMs, which enabled President Putin to shrug off Bushs national missile
defense effort as irrelevant.17
In its 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Defense Department concluded that China has the greatest potential to compete militarily with
the United States and field disruptive military technologies that could over
time offset traditional U.S. military advantages. This estimate also presaged Chinas antisatellite test, which destroyed one of its aging weather
satellites in January 2007, when it referred to its space and counter-space
capabilities. Although proud of its successful antisatellite test, officials in
Beijing vigorously objected to the idea that their military modernization
program was other than moderate and reasonable. A representative of
the foreign ministry sharply criticized Pentagon-inflated claims before
Congress as spreading a myth of the China threat by exaggerating Chinas military strength and expenses out of ulterior motives. The issue
of Taiwan also added to the increased Chinese-American tensions. The
Taiwanese legislature approved upgrading its current antimissile system,
the PAC-2, but refused to buy the newer PAC-3 option.18
If Beijing was concerned about U.S. missile defense deployments,
Washington was uncertain about Chinas nuclear and strategic intentions.
As Professor Christopher Twomey at the Naval Postgraduate School in
Monterey, California has noted, the development of [U.S.-Chinese]
strategic forces has increasingly assumed an interlocked form. The U.S.


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

revolution in precision-guided munitions was followed by an emphasis on

mobility in the Chinese missile forces. U.S. missile defense systems have
clearly spurred an emphasis on countermeasures in Chinas ICBM force
and quantitative buildups in it regional missile arsenal. Subsequently,
information emerged that China was developing its own BMD system
when Reuters news service reported on January 12, 2010, that China had
successfully conducted a ground-based mid-course missile interception.
Although few details were provided, the Chinese Foreign Ministry was
quoted as saying the test is defensive in nature and is not targeted at any
country. Yet it was obvious that Beijing was displeased with Washingtons recent sale of the Patriot (PAC-3) to Taiwan and chose to emphasize
its own technical abilities in weapons development. Not surprising, each
nations military views the other as a potential adversary and develops
plans and force structures with that in mind.
In the Defense Departments March 2008 Military Power of China
summary, the Americans complained that the lack of transparency in
Chinas military and security affairs poses risks to stability by increasing
the potential for misunderstanding and miscalculation. The report states
that Chinas modernization of its nuclear and missile arsenal has allowed
for the deployment of solid-fueled and liquid-fueled missiles of varying
ranges and with different types of warheads. Although the Pentagon
declared in 2008, China has the most active ballistic missile program in
the world, Beijings actual strategic arsenal consisted largely of some
20 DF-5A liquid-fueled missiles deployed since 1981 with a 13,000kilometer range. The DF-5s, however, are being replaced by two new
mobile solid-fueled ICBMs, the DF-31, with a 7,000-kilometer range, and
the DF-31A, with a range of 11,000 kilometers. A 2009 Pentagon estimate
suggested six launchers of each model currently existed. While the modernization program is underway, Chinese officials have extended public
and private assurances that the nations nuclear no-first-use policy was
At the same time, however, Beijing had deployed hundreds of missiles
armed with both conventional and possibly nuclear warheads aimed
across the Taiwan Straits. These activities led officials in Taipei and Washington, who had been considering missile defenses for the island since the
Reagan administration, to again seriously examine these possibilities. As
tensions between the United States and China heated up in 2006 over the
status of Taiwan, an article by William Arkin appeared on the Washington
Post Web site in May claiming that the Pentagons war plans, Oplan 5077,
included sending missile defense forces to aid Taipei in protecting the
island. In the event of a confrontation, he noted, the Bush administration
had put a greater emphasis on missile defense, particularly employing
the much improved U.S. Aegis cruisers and destroyers carrying Standard
Missile-3s. Although some Taiwanese officials contemplated a theater missile defense system, others questioned whether it would be sufficiently

North Korean and Iranian Missile Programs


effective to prevent a substantial penetration by Chinese missiles, especially medium-range ones. Then, too, there was the cost of purchasing U.S.
systems that could stress the Taiwanese defense budget, which had been
declining in the 1990s.20
By 2008, Washington had approved the sale of 330 PAC-3 missiles to
Taiwan, but it was suggested that more than 1,000 were needed. Also a
PAVE PAWS phased array radar was currently under construction that
could see some 3,000 kilometers into China and provide six-minute
warning of a ballistic missile attack. The next year a major contract was
awarded to Raytheon for the refurbishing of Taiwans Patriot system
and train operators to prepare for any attack. It was expected that the
upgraded Patriot would be able to shoot down tactical ballistic missiles,
cruise missiles, and aircraft. Even so, a former Republican congressional
staff member, William Hawkins, commented that there were not nearly a
sufficient number of Patriot systems on Taiwan to blunt the barrage of
short range ballistic missiles China has aimed at the island. His solution
was to permit Taiwan to purchase the U.S. Theater High-Altitude Area
Defense (THAAD) system to augment the Patriots.21
Meanwhile, by 2006, officials in New Delhi had begun to rethink their
long-held opposition to missile defenses. Among the several factors that
prompted this reconsideration was proximity of potentially hostile neighbors, especially China and Pakistan, who possessed the ability to target
nuclear-armed India with weapons of mass destruction. In December
2007, Indias Defense Research and Development Organization reported
that it had recently conducted a successful second missile defense test,
using a single-stage Advanced Air Defence (AAD) antimissile to intercept
a ballistic missile target. An Israeli missile authority Uzi Rubin confirmed
that a video of the test revealed a flyby intercept, not a kill intercept.
He pointed out that such tests were common and could generate data for
continued improvement of the system regardless of the nonkill of the
target. Head of Indias antimissile program V. K. Saraswat was reported
as claiming that an operational system would be deployed within four
years and would provide protection against short- and medium-range
ballistic missiles attacks from either China or Pakistan. Unfortunately for
his plans, the Associated Press reported on March 15, 2010 that an Indian
interceptor missile failed to launch against a medium-range and nuclear
capable Prithvi II surface-to-surface missile in routine test. As early as
2003, however, Pakistani officials had warned India that its obtaining missiles defense capabilities could upset the regional military balance.22
As relations with the Bush administration improved, India and the
United States began discussing the possibility of bilateral cooperation on
antimissile programs. In February 2008, Reuters reported that Secretary
of Defense Robert Gates stated, Were just beginning to talk about perhaps conducting a joint analysis about what Indias needs would be in the
realm of missile defense and where cooperation between us might help


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

advance that. Washingtons interest in a cooperative venture was motivated by at least two major considerations. Indias indigenous antimissile
program closed a potential market for American weapons industry, but a
cooperative venture could offer the United States and Israel a potentially
large competitive market. Then, too, this cooperation might be tied to U.S.
efforts to widen its global BMD network.23
* * *
During the past several years Iran has been seen as posing the twin
threat of an ambitious missile program and the construction of enhanced
nuclear enrichment facilities that could be a first step in obtaining nuclear
warheads. The United States and the European states have taken the lead
in seeking to persuade Iran not to join the nuclear weapons club. Among
neighboring countries most interested in obtaining antimissile defenses for
protection from Iranian missiles have been Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait,
and the United Arab Emirates. The Bush administration also focused on
creating a network of antimissile facilities, with emphasis on European
bases, to provide a defense against any possible Iranian missile attack
(see chapter 4).
Most media attention has been focused on Irans nuclear activities and
the efforts to persuade the Iranians to keep to the announced purpose
of creating civilian nuclear energy and not to develop nuclear weapons.
After the initial European-led negotiations failed to accomplish their goals,
eventually the United States and Russia sought to provide more attractive
packages. The Bush administration at first tried to distance itself from Iran
and depended on the European diplomats to conduct the actual discussions. Although there was talk of preemptive military strikes to neutralize
Iranian nuclear facilities, Western diplomats turned to the UN Security
Council for economic sanctions resulting in Resolutions 1803 (2006) and
1747 (2007), which were supplemented by Resolution 1696 (2006). Essentially, these resolutions intended that Iran halt its nuclear enrichment
programs and allow its facilities to be inspected by the International
Atomic Energy Agency. Since Security Council actions failed to accomplish these objectives, the Bush administration was stymied. By 2004, Iran
had made considerable progress in achieving self-sufficiency in mediumrange ballistic missile production and in heightening Washington efforts
to strengthen its antimissile defenses. The Iranians had drawn their missile technology from Chinese samples that led to the surface-to-surface
Mushak series, the Soviet-designed Scud-B that provided the core for the
Shahab-1, and the North Korean Scud-C and No Dong-1 that provided
the basis for the follow-on Shahabs-2 to 5 ballistic missiles. Subsequent
Iranian missile activities indicated to Western observers that North Korea
had become its major source of technical assistance. In September 2006,
Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph stated, North Korea has been . . . the principal supplier to Iran

North Korean and Iranian Missile Programs


of ballistic missile technologies. A month later, Tehran announced that it

had tested a Shahab-3, with a range of 2,000 kilometers, whose technology was based on North Koreas No Dong-1 missile. In August 2008, Iran
tested a space launch missile involving a two-stage rocket, named Safir,
that was believed to employ a Shahab-3 for the initial stage and an indigenously designed and developed propulsion system for the second stage.
Geoffrey Forden emphasized that the home-grown Safir system indicated a growing innovation perhaps overshadowing foreign assistance.
The former UN weapons inspector went on to point out, the important
thing is that Iran, not North Korea, not Iraq, is the first country to break
out of the Scud type of missile mold. Although the indigenous second
stage had difficulty with its steering mechanism, it appeared that Iran was
seeking to increase the range of its missile arsenal. Iranian officials said,
no they were trying to develop rockets to launch satellites into space.
Although the UN Security Council adopted three resolutions that placed
sanctions against Iranian agencies involved in missile programs and
aimed at preventing the transfer of additional missile technology, it did
not demand that Iran halt its missile program. Iran continued its missile
development programs and, in April 2010 paraded its arsenal through the
streets of Tehran. As it awaited delivery of sophisticated BMD from Russia, Iran unveiled what it claimed was a new air defense system designed
to protect against missiles and high-altitude aircraft. The consequence of
this new Iranian military development may have further limited Western
options to respond to Tehrans apparent military buildup.
If American officials have emphasized Irans efforts to develop longrange ballistic missiles in their argument for a European BMD system, the
Israelis showed more concern for Irans existing shorter-range missiles.
After all, as Yitzhak Ben Israel, chairman of Israels Space Agency, noted,
Israeli territory already was within range of Irans Shahab-3 missiles, the
threat posed by Iran comes from its nuclear program and not from its satellites or ballistic missiles.24
Israeli officials had long been concerned with developing an antimissile system. They had eagerly accepted Washingtons assistance (see chapter 3); indeed, its Arrow program received more U.S. funds between 1985
and 1990 than any other nation jointly involved in antimissile development. Israel used the funds primarily for flight tests and production of
the Arrow I as an antitactical ballistic missile (ATBM) system to defend
against Scud missiles and other types of intermediate- and short-range
missiles. During the first Gulf War, Iraq targeted Israel with 40 Scud ballistic missiles, of which 24 were aimed at Tel Aviv. To keep Israel neutral
during the conflict to avoid confrontation with its Arab allies, Washington
sent Patriot (PAC-2) batteries to Israel in an effort to intercept the Scuds.
Unfortunately, according to data analyzed after the conflict, the Patriots
that were fired at the incoming Scuds frequently missed and exploded
over Israeli or Saudi territory and caused substantial collateral damage.


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

The PAC-2 had fared poorly in its initial battlefield test during the first
Gulf War as a 1992 Government Accounting Office report claimed that
158 Patriot missiles were launched at 47 Scuds with no more than four
possible hits.25
As the prospects of a second war with Iraq approached, Israel responded
with its own anti-Scud missile shield, the Arrow or Hetz system. The
$2.4 billion project, over half of which had been funded by the United
States, is designed to find and destroy, in less than three minutes, an
enemy missile flying at an altitude of more than 30 miles. In addition, the
Israeli also possessed operational PAC-2 systems.26
During preparations for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Pentagon
transferred PAC-3 batteries to 27 Middle East locations in Israel, Bahrain,
Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. The new PAC-3 batteries were to
protect U.S. and British aircraft from Iraqi missiles. Yet, no Scud missiles
were launched. Iraq did reportedly fire some surface-to-surface missiles
and at least 23 ballistic and cruise missiles at U.S. forces and installations.
The results of attempted intercepts of Iraqi missiles by the U.S. Armys
Patriot PAC-2 and PAC-3 batteries were mixed at best. Iraq fired two
Ababil-100s surface-to-surface missiles that reportedly American Patriot
interceptors engaged and destroyed before they could reach their targets.
The army reported that the batteries had destroyed the nine Iraqi missiles they targeted; however, they also shot down two friendly aircraft
and locked on a third. According to an unofficial report, however, of the
14 Iraqi missiles not engaged by Patriots, four were reported as outside
the range of any Patriot system and one exploded shortly after launch. No
official explanation [has been] given for why the other nine Iraqi missiles
were not fired upon. None of the cruise missiles were intercepted, which
could pose problems for the Patriot system in the future.27
Since no Iraqi Scuds were fired at Israel during the U.S. 2003 invasion,
no Israeli Arrow or Patriot missiles were launched in response. In 2006,
however, Israel did come under rocket attacks during its offensive against
Hezbollah militants in southern Lebanon. Nearly 4,000 rockets and
missiles, most allegedly supplied by Iran, hit inside Israel, causing the
deaths of 43 civilians and forcing many thousands of others to frequently
take shelter. Neither the Arrow nor Patriot systems could intercept the
122-millimeter Katyusha rockets because they had only a one- or twominute flight time. The Israelis subsequently have worked on a system
called the Iron Dome, designed to counter short- and medium-range rockets employed by Palestinian and Lebanese militants. It is planned to be
available for deployment in 2010.
Meanwhile, Israeli leaders chose to focus on Irans role in the episode
and to concentrate their resources on developing and deploying a ballistic missile defense to counter Tehrans growing arsenal of offensive
missiles and possible nuclear weapons. I think the Iranian threat is now
also clearer, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told a media gathering

North Korean and Iranian Missile Programs


in Washington. Mindful of its failure to deal with Scud missiles during

first Gulf War, Israel successfully conducted the 17th test of the Arrow
systema U.S.-Israeli joint venturein March 2009. The upgraded
Arrow II interceptor succeeded in locating and hitting the target in a test
designed to provide protection from an Iranian Shahab ballistic missile.
While we are for peace, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared
as he applauded his Defense Ministry, we will know how to defend ourselves. An ATBM battery consists of four or eight launch trailers, each
with six launch tubes and ready-to-fire missiles, a truck mounted Hazelnut Tree launch control centre, a truck mounted communications centre,
a trailer mounted Citron Tree fire control centre and the units of a mobile
Green Pine radar system. The first such battery developed to intercept
short- and medium-range ballistic missiles became operational in 2000
and several others have since been deployed.28
The Bush administration also sounded an alarm at the development of
Irans missile arsenal. Quite early on, as explained in the previous chapter,
it sought to expand Americas newly deployed antimissile system to the
former Warsaw Pact countries of Eastern Europe.


The Status of Missile

Defense Systems

A comprehensive assessment of the reliability of major antimissile programs at the end of the Bush administration has been made difficult, as
a former director of weapon testing at the Pentagon, Philip Coyle, has
emphasized, because the current programs have no operational criteria
for success. When President Bush ordered the Missile Defense Agency
(MDA) to deploy the ground-based missile defense (GMD) system at Fort
Greely in Alaska and at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California by the
end of 2004, the White House and Pentagon emphasized the rapid deployment of hardware pursuing what was known as spiral development or
capability-based acquisition. Taken to an extreme, this approach, Coyle
has argued, is like building a house while the floor plan is constantly
changing. It makes for a very expensive house, and if your family ever
gets to move in, they [may] find they dont like how their topsy-turvy
house turned out. In missile defense, he explained, the problems with
dynamic acquisition stem from a lack of definite requirements.1
In 2003, the General Accounting Office (GAO) similarly warned that
fielding a missile defense capability by 2004 places MDA in danger
of getting off track early and impairing the effort over the long term.
This danger is highlighted by MDAs decision not to follow some of its
knowledge-based practices. . . . For example, MDA is beginning system
integration . . . with immature technology and limited testing. While
doing so may help MDA meet the Presidents deadline, it also increases
the potential that some elements may not work as intended. According
to the GAO, the MDA has confirmed: There are currently no final or fixed
architectures and no set of operational requirements for the proposed

The Status of Missile Defense Systems


[ballistic missile defense system] BMDs. Moreover, the MDA was unclear
about how the entire antimissile program would be supported or who
would provide or fund them.2 Thus the question of long-term costs also
needed to be considered.
Since President Bushs objective in deploying missile defenses was to
protect against an attack by a so-called rogue stateIran or North Korea
the accomplishments of the technical and operational features of these
programs necessarily are the focal point of any meaningful assessment.
Despite his criticism of the Clinton administrations antimissile projects
and deployment plan, Bushs initial versions offered little different except
for a third layer defense. Clinton focused on targeting long-range missiles with two defensive layers: a midcourse-phase employing a groundbased midcourse defense (GMD) system, then called National Missile
Defense, and on a terminal-phase using mobile Patriot interceptors, and
possibly sea-based Aegiss Standard Missile-3 interceptors, to destroy
descending warheads near the end or leaving the mid-course phase. An
additional systemthe theater high altitude area defense (THAAD)was
designed to intercept short- and medium-range ballistic missiles at the
end of their mid-course stage and in the terminal phase. The Bush administration sought to emphasize an additional third defensive layer known
as the Boost-phase designed to fire interceptors at enemy ballistic missiles just after launch.
Arriving at an objective, accurate assessment of these systems, however,
was made more difficult by the Bush administrations decision in late
December 2005 to halt future announcements of antimissile deployments
in the interest of operational security. Moreover, this step followed a
series of efforts by the administration to limit the publics information
regarding the development of Americas ballistic missile defensesa
reluctance to provide precise testing schedules, certain test details, and
press briefings before and after tests. Arms Control Todays analyst Wade
Boese reported in early 2006, Technical program standards also were
shelved in the name of spiral development along with the processes of
fielding a system under development and the evolving it. The administrations policies restricting public announcements, MDA spokesperson
Rick Lehner confirmed, also extended to the ship-based Aegis Ballistic
Missile Defense system.3
* * *
Is the fledgling ground-based missile defense [GMD] system deployed
[in Alaska and California] 18 months ago, Boese wondered in April 2006,
capable of destroying an incoming long-range ballistic missiles? The
answers he found depended on the responding advocate or critic, individual or agency, as the GMD deployment had become a focal point for
most discussions dealing with antimissile programs. Examples of administration enthusiasm flourished. Missile Defense Agency chief Lt. General


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

A Patriot missile battery being operated by the 801st Squadron, GGW de Peel,
Netherlands. Photo by Sgt. Mike Doncell. (Courtesy: Department of Defense)

Henry Obering told the House Armed Services Subcommittee on March 9,

2006 that the deployment of the ground-based midcourse defense system
in 2004 had made history by establishing a limited defensive capability . . . against a possible long-range ballistic missile attack. He informed
reporters on March 20 that site- and flight-testing assured him that the
GMD could shoot down an incoming missile and that testing so far
had failed to indicate any problems that might be called showstoppers.
Echoing this view before the House Subcommittee, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Peter Flory stated that today,
the United States has all of the pieces in place that are needed to intercept an incoming long-range ballistic missile. Similarly, acting director
of the Pentagons Office of Operational Test and Evaluation David Duma
endorsed the notion that we have all of the pieces in place to attempt an
intercept of an incoming missile; but, he also hedgedthe testing to date
has not confirmed that you could count on that.4
Skeptics who bothered to examine the data found the administrations rhetoric failed to be supported facts, a situation that would prevail
through the Bush years. Dumas predecessor, Thomas Christie, told congressional authorities in January, that he had questions about the GMDs
readiness. Due to immature [missile defense] elements, he stated, very
little system level testing was performed by the end of 2003. Actually, the
MDA had not flight-tested the GMDs ability to intercept a target since a
December 11, 2002 failure that reduced the GMDs record to five hits and

The Status of Missile Defense Systems


three misses. Even the five hits were downgraded in a GAO report for
Congress. In April 2005, the GAO characterized those tests as developmental in nature, and, accordingly, engagement conditions were repetitive
and scripted, and urged more realistic and challenging trials.5
Two subsequent tests of the GMD interceptors, one at the end of 2004
and the other in early 2005, failed because the interceptors did not leave
their silos, tending to confirm some of the critical assessments and casting
a shadow on the Pentagons claims. Yet Defense Department spokespersons retained their enthusiasm. The December 15, 2004 test, according to
MDAs Richard Lehner, had not failed because it simply was not completed. We werent able to complete the test that we had planned, he
stated. I definitely wouldnt categorize it as a setback of any kind. . . . We
will isolate the anomaly and fix it. On February 24, 2005, however, a second test launch failed when there was a problem with the retracting arms
that held the interceptor in its silo to prevent it from tipping over in case
of an earthquake. This episode prompted Joint Chiefs of Staff General
Richard B. Myers to tell members of Congress: They [MDA] dont think
thats a systemic issue, but its one they are going to have to deal with,
In prepared remarks of March 15, 2005 to the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, MDA Director Obering took a surprisingly
more positive approach. For the first time in its history, he stated, the
United States today has a limited capacity to defend our people against
long-range ballistic missile attack. At the same time, Duma offered a less
sanguine evaluation of the GMD system. With a nod to the obvious, the
Pentagons chief weapons tester said, I dont think that you can say the
system is operationally ready today . . . We dont have a demonstrated
capability from detection through negating the incoming threat. Meanwhile, he lauded the MDA director for his prudent method of developing the various antimissile systems. I applaud his commitment to a
test-fix-test philosophy, Duma said, that results in an event-driven test
program. In a report issued the same month, the GAO warned that there
was a downside to deploying elements without their being fully tested. If
the elements do not work as projected and require replacement or repair,
the process can become costly.7
Critics continued to be dismayed at the Pentagons consistent rationalizations. For example, at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) challenged Myers and
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld regarding the decision to establish
antimissile bases without more successful tests. It strikes me as a little
odd, she noted, that we would deploy a system that hasnt succeeded
and expect that to serve a deterrent value. Rumsfeld agreed that theres
no deterrent if something is known to not work. The defense secretary
showed a much different attitude here compared with his endorsement
in 2002 of President Bushs decision to deploy the GMD. At that time he


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

acknowledged that additional research would be required to perfect the

system, but insisted criticism of the technology was a red herring. On
CBSs Face the Nation he declared: We have no intention of deploying
something that doesnt work, but what the definition of work is, is terribly important.8
After the last two test failures, the MDA commissioned an Independent
Review Team comprising a trio of expertsformer NASA administrator
William Graham; Maj. General Bill Nance, a former program manager of
the GMD system; and William Ballhaus, president and chief executive officer of The Aerospace Corporationto examine the entire testing process.
Their report, turned over to Obering on March 31, 2005, concluded that
the development of the GMD system was driven by a White House schedule instead of performance benchmarks. The administration defended its
actions stating that the schedule was based on what it perceived to be a
mounting missile threat to the United States. Although the MDA met
the challenge of the presidents charge to begin deploying the GMD by
2004, the three experts emphasized that the next challenge is to verify the
systems operational performance and reliability. Testifying before congressional committees, Obering continued to assert his confidence that
the system would work based on the MDAs experiences with simplified
tests and broad-ranging simulations and experimental modeling. Unimpressed, the experts argued that to make sure that hardware and software
performed as predicted, there is a need to validate the design and reliability of the system as currently deployed . . . [M]odels and simulations
have not yet been sufficiently validated and require additional flight data
to improve confidence. This would involve undertaking tests requiring
more rigorous, realistic trials.9
Another GAO report to Congress in March 2006 sought to evaluate all
of the MDAs missile defense systems. Although it acknowledged that
some progress had been made, the report criticized the agency for hastily deploying various systems at the expense of cost, quantity, and performance goals. In particular, the GAO implied that Bushs decision to
deploy the GMD system in Alaska and California by 2004 appeared to
have led to quick fixes and poor quality of work as the MDA shifted from
focusing on experimental elements for testing to fielding operational
units. Time pressures, according to the report, caused the MDA to
stray from a knowledge-based acquisition strategy. This, the GAO continued, was especially evident with the GMD system, as the performance
of the emplaced GMD interceptors is uncertain because inadequate mission assurance/quality control procedures may have allowed less reliable or inappropriate parts to be incorporated into the manufacturing
process. Another factor complicating assessment of the GMD system,
the GAO pointed out, was the inability to conduct an end-to-end flight
test . . . using production-representative components since the five successful intercept tests, the last occurring in October 2002, used surrogate

The Status of Missile Defense Systems


and prototype components. Not surprisingly, General Obering found the

GAOs report lacking its best work as he emphasized that the rationale for the 2002 deployment was to quickly achieve a minimum antimissile capability with the expectation of improving it as deficiencies were
On September 1, 2006, the Pentagon and MDA celebrated a success
as an interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California collided with a target missile fired from Kodiak Island in Alaska.
The GMD interceptor left the ground seven minutes after the target was
launched and flew at 17,000 miles per hour to meet its objective where
it released its kill vehicle. The exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV)
detached from its boosters and, using onboard sensors to locate the target, scored a hit on the target warhead over the Pacific Ocean. Originally, the purpose of this test was advertised as an attempt to collect data
on the phenomenology of an intercept, and so the test was designated
as a radar certification test, not as a flight intercept test. Nevertheless,
an intercept was achieved, breaking a string of flight intercept test failures that had begun in late 2002. There were a number of firsts for this
test. In addition to the first launch of the same interceptor as the 11 then
deployed in Alaska and 2 in California, this was the first time both
the test interceptor and target were launched from new locations and
the GMDs fire control center was staffed by an actual crew from the
100th Missile Defense Brigade rather than by private contractors. Finally,
an upgraded radar based at Beale AFB 300 miles north of Vandenberg
collected data in the test. What we saw today, Obering told reporters, was a very realistic trajectory for the threat . . . and a very realistic trajectory, a very realistic intercept altitude, and intercept speeds for
the . . . interceptor against the target.
Yet critics cautioned that the target missile did not employ any countermeasures such as decoys or multiple warheads that could confuse
the kill vehicle. This is the best thing they have done to date, a senior
analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Stephen Young, acknowledged. But it is still far below the standard of a real-world test. To
the former director of the Defense Departments weapons testing, Philip
Coyle, the latest effort was the simplest flight intercept test ever
because of the failure to include decoys. On a somewhat more optimistic
note, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld suggested, While todays test was a
success, the test program is by no means complete. Tests will continue,
some of which will be successful and some will not. This was a challenging test, and the tests will become even more challenging in the period
* * *
In January 2007, however, the Bush administration began to openly
acknowledge the vulnerabilities that its fixed GMD systems in Alaska and


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

California confronted. For example, raid attacksthat is, an attack by

many missiles not just one or twocould overwhelm missile defenses,
and decoys and countermeasures could become the Achilles heel of these
missile defenses. Initially, not wanting to admit to any such vulnerability,
the Bush Pentagon had dumbed down the supposed threat from Iran
(and North Korea) by defining it to be just one or two missiles with no
decoys or countermeasures. In this fashion, the administration did its best
to deflect the comments of skeptics who pointed out that these systems
could be vulnerable to both raid attacks and to decoys and countermeasures. As late as April 2007, General Obering defended the MDAs test
programs before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic
Forces. We think that there are many situations where we will not be
faced with complex countermeasures. Again at an April Senate Defense
Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Obering argued that Just because
you do not have countermeasures does not mean that [trials are] not
A task force of the Defense Science Boardan advisory group to the
secretary of defensechallenged Obering and the MDA for ignoring the
problem of countermeasures. In its December 2006 report, the task force
warned that fielding the current systems in larger numbers will not lead
to a robust [defense]. Rebutting the task forces finding, MDA spokesperson Rick Lehner argued that the agency was currently developing
multiple kill vehicles that could be placed on a single interceptor. These
miniaturized kill vehicles, planned to be about the size of a loaf of bread,
would resolve the problem by singling out warheads in a target cluster
and destroying all objects in the cluster. MDA planned to have these new
vehicles ready for testing in 2012.13
Meanwhile, many critics pointed out the artificiality of this view. To
use a popular golf analogy, hitting an enemy missile out in space going
17,000 mph is like trying to hit a hole-in-one when the hole is going
17,000 mph. And if an enemy uses decoys and countermeasures, missile
defense is like trying to shoot a hole-in-one in golf when the hole is going
17,000 mph and the green is covered with several black circles the same
size as the hole. The defender doesnt know which target to aim for. Of
course, in an all-out strike, missile defense radars and interceptor sites
would be prime targets for an enemy from the outset.
Towards the end of Bushs second term, the MDA began to reflect more
openly on these issues. For example, the limitations of the planned missile defense capability were revealed by an unusually candid admission in
the MDA FY-2008 budget request: This initial capability is not sufficient
to protect the United States from the extant and anticipated rogue nation
threat. This remarkable statement and the others that followed in this
section of the presidents budget were among the few times that the White
House would acknowledge weakness in its GMD program. Consequently,
the Bush administration declared:

The Status of Missile Defense Systems


We therefore must close the gaps in the system and improve its [GMDs] capability
to keep pace. Three key elements of this effort are additional Aegis BMD sea-based
interceptors, the introduction of four transportable Terminal High Altitude Area
Defense (THAAD) fire units consisting of radars and interceptors, and the introduction of a land- and sea-based volume kill capability (Multiple Kill Vehicle program) to address potential countermeasures. Additionally, to ensure full coverage
of the United States against threats from the Middle East, we will upgrade an Early
Warning Radar in Thule, Greenland. This radar, in conjunction with the radar at
Fylingdales, UK provides the ability to track threats to the U.S. and Europe from
the Middle East. Because we must protect these radars or risk losing the eyes of
our system, we are planning to field ground-based interceptors and an associated
ground-based midcourse radar site in Europe. This achieves four goals: protecting the foreign-based radars, improving protection of the United States by providing additional and earlier intercept opportunities; extending this protection to
our allies and friends; and demonstrating international support of ballistic missile

This statement also called attention to the capabilities of the Navy Aegis
and army THAAD systems. At the same time, it revealed that the MDA
saw the proposed missile defenses in Europe as vital to protect existing
radar sites in Greenland and the United Kingdom necessary to defend the
United States, not first and foremost to defend Europe.
After a May 25, 2007 test was scrubbed because the target missile veered
off-course, the Pentagon on September 28 successfully repeated the flight
test of a year earlier by destroying a target high above the Pacific Ocean.
If this accomplishment raised GMDs record to 7 hits out of 13 attempts, it
also was just the second successful intercept by the system since President
Bush ordered its deployment. Both the interceptor and the target missile flew the same trajectories as previously, with the almost 60-kilogram
EKVemploying similar onboard sensorshitting and shattering the
mock warhead. Again there were no countermeasures included in the target package, such as balloon decoys used in the tests between 1999 and
2002. According to Rick Lehner, this was because the X-band radar located
in the Marshall Islands and used in the earlier trials was not positioned
to track targets launched from Alaska. He said that the introduction of
a sea-based X-band radar (SBX) mounted on a mobile, ocean-going oil
rig platform would provide the necessary discrimination for the next test,
perhaps in February 2008. Unfortunately, the scheduled February date
slipped to mid-May at which time the planned test was canceled because
of a faulty telemetry unit on the test interceptors EKV that was to relay
data back for evaluation. It was anticipated that another test would be
rescheduled for 2009, but it slipped into 2010.
There were a few positive aspects to the September 2007 test. These
included the use of Aegis radars to track the target missile in a so-called
shadow mode for the first time since such targets were launched from
Kodiak, Alaska. Also, MDA officials were heartened by the fact that the test


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

interceptor used on September 28 had been installed in its underground

launch silo since the aborted May 25 test when the target went awry. Interceptors normally were put in place only a month before a scheduled test;
that this interceptor had been in its silo for more than three months before
launch prompted Lehner to declared that the longer wait displayed operational realism.15
Responding to critics who questioned the worth of the deployed antimissiles, some administration officials pointed to what they saw as the
successful outcome of a crisis posed by North Koreas missile launches
in 2006. Pyongyang in June had placed its newest ballistic missile the
Taepo Dong-2, on a launch pad; some observers estimated that this missile could reach the United States. The United States let it be known
that it had ordered its nine GMDs stationed in Alaska to shift from a
test mode to an operational status, as crews at Fort Greely readied the
interceptors for possible launch. Some members of the administration
believed that possessing the GMD system and placing the interceptors
on alert freed President Bush from having to decide whether to order
a preemptive strike on North Korean missiles, thereby escalating the
already tense situation. John Rood, the acting undersecretary of state
for arms control and international security affairs, struck this note when
he returned to the episode for members of the media in a March 11,
2008 briefing. Because of the deployed antimissile system, he declared,
we didnt have to seriously consider options like pre-emption or overwhelming retaliation. We had a defense, and we were content to use that
defense, and it was a way of not contributing to the crisis being larger.
When testifying a month later, General Obering revisited the same event
on April 30 before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The existing GMD antimissile system,
he stated, was good enough that when the North Koreans stacked their
Taepo Dong-2 in the summer of 2006, the president was relying on [it] as
opposed to taking the advice of some . . . former senior officials to preemptively strike the site.16
Yet just how reliable was the antimissile system that the president was
supposedly depending on to guarantee U.S. security? At the time of the
2006 North Korean missile test, during which the Taepo Dong-2 failed
seconds after launch, the GMD deployed in Alaska had not been successfully tested; indeed, in eight trials dating back to 1999, the system had
achieved only five intercepts. Congressman John Tierney (D-MA), who
chaired the subcommittee MDA director Obering addressed on April 30,
later reflected less confidence than had the MDA director and administration officials in the deployed antimissiles units. The components of the
[GMD] system have yet to undergo successful realistic and operational
testing, Tierney stated in a delayed formal statement issued on June 11,
such as would warrant full confidence against real-life threats should
they be developed anytime soon.

The Status of Missile Defense Systems


The GAO also lacked confidence in the system. Reviewing the two
GMD tests since the summer of 2006 where interceptors hit their targets
and a third canceled test, it reported in March 2008 that the tests done
to date have been developmental in nature, and do not provide sufficient
realism for [the Pentagons] test and evaluation director to fully determine
whether the BMDS [Ballistic Missile Defense System] is suitable and effective for battle. The long-range element of the entire antimissile project
was the GMD system.17
In the latter half of 2008, this report from the GAO and a critical report
from the private Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) appeared that evaluated various aspects of President Bushs directive to swiftly deploy missile defenses. The IDAs 20-member panel noted that while the MDAs
efforts to meet the presidents order resulted in the placing of two dozen
ground-based long-range interceptors in Alaska and California, this was
accomplished with the limited goal of an initial capability without specific performance requirement. The deployment of the antimissile systems, however, has been less successful in fostering the planning and
preparation needed to adequately address future operations of deployed
systems and follow-on procurement and sustainment. The August
report, directed by Congress as part of its fiscal year 2008 defense authorization, also found that the military units designated to ultimately operate
the systems have not been heavily involved in those activities necessary to assume that responsibility. The IDA panel felt the MDA needed to
involve the military services more in establishing performance standards
and testing goals. Indeed, the panel argued that the MDA has had too
little interaction with other elements within the Pentagon and stated that
the agencys efforts to develop these capabilities needs to involve the
ultimate user throughout so that the systems are militarily useful.
The September findings of the GAO, which regularly conducted such
assessments for Congress, paralleled much of the earlier IDA evaluation
of Americas missile defense projects. The GAO also found that MDA and
the military forces have not routinely worked together on support planning and that the agency failed to develop future support plans for many
of the antimissile projects. Moreover, the GAO cautioned the difficulties
in transitioning responsibilities from the MDA to the services have complicated long-term planning. Except for the navys Aegis system, the MDA
was currently overseeing or participating in operating some deployed
antimissile systems and had yet to make the final arrangements for turning over to the military services the responsibility for running and paying
for some of the units.
Finally, the IDA panel argued that the MDA should return to its primary role focusing on research and development, which included placing
a renewed emphasis on science and technology, and to turn the responsibility for procurement and operation over to the military services.
Pointing to the midcourse interceptor systems, which included the GMD


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

and the ship-based Aegis systems, the panel contended that the balance
between qualitative improvements and deploying more of existing capabilities should be strongly in favor of qualitative improvements. Without
such a focus, the current system capabilities will become obsolete. Consequently, a trend toward more deployments of current capabilities would
seriously degrade the ability to increase the future capability of all the
ballistic missile defense systems.
The MDA was quick to defend its actions. Its spokesperson Rick Lehner stated that the agency is engaging with all the military services to
improve operations and sustainment activities and funding. Moreover, he
contended, the agency has a lot of responsibilities based upon the sheer
number of programs and technologies we manage, and we do a great job.
Reminding the critics that the MDA emphasized a spiral development
acquisition approach, Lehner went on to state: We have always planned
on qualitative improvements to both the land-based and sea-based midcourse defenses. An example of this, he said, was the agencys decision
to pursue smaller kill vehicles so that a single interceptor could challenge
more than one target. While insisting they were already moving in the
directions urged by the IDA panel and the GAO, the Pentagon and MDA
believed that because of the urgency of the perceived threat and military
needs, it could be unwise to slow or delay fielding of BMDS [Ballistic
Missile Defense System] capabilities until every step is taken to complete
operation and support planning.18
After North Koreas nuclear test and planned missile trials, Defense Secretary Robert Gates inspected the GMD complex in Alaska in June 2009
for the Obama administration. He declared: If there were a launch from a
rogue state such as North Korea, I have good confidence that we would be
able to deal with it. Gates repeated his view, earlier provided to the Senates Armed Services Committee, that North Korean missiles did not pose
an imminent threat to America given the pace at which [that country] is
developing its program.19 Gates may well be correct, but there is little
verifiable evidence that the GMD system is truly reliable.
* * *
Although the ground-based midcourse defense systemdesigned
to combat ballistic missiles with ranges greater than 5,500 kilometers
tended to be the center of attention during the Bush years, the MDA has
been involved in several other antimissile programs. Two of the more
prominent of these programs have been the sea-based Aegis and the
THAAD projects that focus on destroying short, medium, and intermediate ballistic missiles with ranges of less than 5,500 kilometers. The Kill
Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) project was conceived to destroy ballistic missilesmedium, intermediate, and intercontinentalwith ranges
of more than 1,000 kilometers, and the technologically complicated Airborne Laser program has been focused on defeating all ranges of ballistic

The Status of Missile Defense Systems


Secretary of Defense Robert M.

Gates talks to Col. Bond of the U.S.
Army, at a ground-based interceptor
missile silo at Fort Greely, Alaska, on
June 1, 2009. Photo by Master Sgt.
Jerry Morrison, U.S. Air Force. (Courtesy: Department of Defense)

missiles. The Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system, developed to

deal with short- and medium-range missiles in their terminal phase, was
transferred to the army for deployment.
The sea-based Aegis system, initially deployed in 1983 to defend ships
from aircraft, antiship cruise missiles, surface, and subsurface threats, was
frequently upgraded. The basic elements of the Aegis system includes:
the SPY-1 radar [is] a phased-array, multifunction radar that is designed
to detect and track multiple targets in flight, and to provide midcourse
guidance to interceptor missiles; a suite of computers running the Aegis
fire control and battle-management computer program; and the Standard
Missile (SM), so-called because it replaced a variety of older navy surface-to-air missiles. In 2002, the Aegis program became part of the overall
antiballistic missile defense program. In its new configuration, the Aegis
BMD system is designed to detect and track ballistic missiles of any
range, including ICBMs, and intercept short- and medium-range ballistic
missiles . . . above the atmosphere . . . during their midcourse [sic] phase
of flight.
When tracking intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), Aegis ships
could perform as sensor platforms providing fire-control quality tracking data to the overall U.S. ballistic missile defenses. Whereas the GMD


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

ground-based midcourse antimissiles based in Alaska and California are

intended to intercept ICBMs, the Aegis system as of 2008 will not intercept
intercontinental ballistic missiles . . . or intercept ballistic missiles inside
the atmosphere, during either their initial boost phase of flight or their
final (terminal) phase of flight. Not all of the comparisons of the Aegis
and GMD systems have noted the basic difference in intercept objectives.20
Although frequently called a midcourse system, the Aegiss interceptors were too slow to accomplish a long-range midcourse intercept.
As of early 2009, three U.S. Navy Ticonderoga class cruisers and 15
Arleigh Burke class destroyers had Aegis antiballistic missile capabilities,
and plans called for modifying the remaining Ticonderoga class cruisers and six additional destroyers. The program projects having 21 ships
upgraded by December 2010, 24 in 20012, and 27 in about 2013. Two major
alterations were necessary to modify a ship for Aegis antiballistic missile
operations: changing the Aegis computer program to permit the SPY-1
radar to detect and track high-flying ballistic missiles; and arming the ship
with a BMD version of the Standard Missile called the SM-3 Block 1A.
A ship with the first modification is referred to as having a long-range
search and track capability. A ship with both modifications is referred to
as an engage-capable ship. Employing a hit-to-kill warhead, the SM-3
Block IA is designed to destroy a ballistic missiles warhead by colliding
with it outside the atmosphere, during the enemy missiles midcourse phase
of flight. The schedule called for the deployment of 133 SM-3 Block 1A
and IB interceptors to Aegis ships, 34 by the end of calendar 2008, and all
133 by 2013. Since the SM-3 Block IA and IB interceptors do not fly sufficiently fast to challenge long-range missiles, a faster version, the Block
IIA, was being developed in cooperation with Japan to improve the prospect of defeating intermediate-range ballistic missiles and some capability for intercepting ICBMs.21
Testing of the Aegis antimissile system has been the most extensive
and successful of any of the MDAs systems. Philip Coyle, former head
of the Defense Departments testing agency, credited the navy for its discipline and successes, even when its ninth trial failed. The U.S. Navy
has an enviable track record of successful flight intercept tests, he told
Inside the Navy on December 7, 2007, and is making the most of its current, limited Aegis missile defense capabilities in these tests. The navys
record for tests of the Aegis system from January 2002 through November 2008 was 15 successful exo-atmospheric intercepts in 19 attempts.
This total includes one successful intercept and one unsuccessful intercept
by Japanese Aegis ships in two Japanese test flights. The Aegis BMD system has also achieved 3 successful [SM-2] endo-atmospheric intercepts in
3 attempts, for a combined total of 18 successful exo- and [SM-3] endoatmospheric intercepts in 22 attempts. The Aegis SM-2, which defends
against missiles inside the atmosphere during their final descent, uses a
blast-fragmentation warhead that explodes near its target to destroy the

The Status of Missile Defense Systems


Guided missile destroyer USS Hopper, equipped with the Aegis integrated
weapons system, launches a Standard Missile (SM) 3 while under way in the
Pacific Ocean, July 30, 2009. U.S. Navy Photo. (Courtesy: Department of Defense)

incoming warhead. It differs from the SM-3 interceptor, which launches a

kill vehicle that locates and collides with its target outside the atmosphere.
Also, an Aegis antiballistic missile system was temporarily altered and
employed on February 20, 2008 to successfully destroy a defective U.S.
surveillance satellite.22 It should not be surprising, given these successes,
that not only Japan, but Australia, Norway, South Korea, and Spain have
added Aegis-equipped ships to their naval forces.
The Theater (after 2004, Terminal) High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)
system is designed to provide ground-based protection for troops, critical facilities and population centers from short- and intermediate-range
ballistic missiles. Each THAAD battery consists of nine truck-mounted
launchers each carrying 10 missile-launch containers, interceptor missiles,
an air transportable X band radar with a range up to 1,000 kilometers,
and a battle management, communications and intelligence system. The
interceptors have an estimated range of 200 kilometers and may reach an
altitude of 150 kilometers. Originally a U.S. Army project, with Lockheed
Martin selected as its prime contractor 1992, the THAAD system had a
difficult beginning, with six attempted intercepts from December 1995 to
March 1999 failing to hit their targets. It was recognized that the system
confronted significant engineering challenges; however, studies performed
by the Pentagon and independent sources pointed to three basic underlying problems: the tight flight-test schedule did not provide for adequate


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

ground testing; seeking to quickly deploy an early prototype system failed

to provide the time necessary for the normal interceptor development process; and insufficient emphasis on quality assurance during component
production resulted in unreliable components. The failed tests, caused by
manufacturing defects, hindered the army from showing that the hit-tokill technology critical to THAADs effectiveness was reliable.23
Although THAAD had two successful tests late in 1999, the program
was transferred to the MDA in late 2001 and underwent a substantial
restructuring to stretch out its flight-test schedule and ensure reliability
of the systems interceptors. Switching from White Sands to the Pacific
Missile Range, THAAD returned to flight-testing in November 2005, with
satisfactory results. Its first successful interception of a live target missile
in July 2006 was followed by three tests in 2007. Two of these tests intercepted Scud-type targets at different levels in the atmosphere; the third
successful test demonstrated the THAADs interceptor ability to detect,
track, and intercept an incoming target above the earths atmosphere.
One test employed communications with the Aegis system as well as its
link with the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications system. The next year, a THAAD test succeeded in intercepting a

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) unit. Photo by MDA. (Courtesy:
Department of Defense)

The Status of Missile Defense Systems


separating target inside the Earths atmosphere, demonstrating the systems ability to operate in both the endoatmosphere and exoatmosphere.
On May 28, 2008, the U.S. Army activated its first THAAD battery at Fort
Bliss, Texas. The battery consisted of 24 interceptors, 3 launchers, fire control and radar in this initial fielding. Between 2005 and 2009, according to
the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin, THAAD completed 11 successful
test flights, including 6 for 6 successful intercepts of both unitary and
separating targets. In its annual report, the GAO in March 2009 declared:
THAADs technologies are mature and its design appears stable. Testing of the system has continued to check on quality of production components to ensure the reliability of the system.24
Some congressional Democrats in 2008 criticized the MDA for spending
too much on what they called less mature systems and subsequently
urged that those systems that showed greater promise should receive
more attention. In particular, they believed that a shifting of funds to the
other systems, such as the Aegis and the mobile land-based THAAD, as
both of these systems had recorded more successful tests. Also, these critics pointed to the immediate need to protect U.S. troops from short- and
intermediate-range missiles, rather than a questionable current danger
from long-range missiles.25 With this sort of attention being directed to
these systems, it was not surprising that the Obama administration would
find a larger role for the Aegis and THAAD in its antiballistic missile
defense strategy.
MDAs Airborne Laser (ABL) program has not fared as well. Designed
to destroy enemy missiles during the boost phase of flight, the ABL is
carried aloft in a considerably altered Boeing 747. Using a high-energy
chemical laser, the ABL would direct a beam at the enemy missiles fuel
tanks, hoping to rupture them. The 747 aircraft would carry a beam control/fire control subsystem to focus the laser and battle management subsystem to plan and carryout engagements. The air force created the ABL
project in 1996 and, according to a GAO report in 2002, established cost
and schedule goals before officials had the knowledge to make realistic
projections. At the projects launch, not enough was known about the
challenging technological issues and, consequently, the Air Force underestimated the complexity of the engineering task at hand and misjudged
the amount of time and money that the program would need. Some critical technologies that the systems design depends upon remain immature,
making it very difficult, even today [2002], for analysts to establish realistic cost and schedule goals.26
Even with certain developmental progress, the ABL project encountered technological difficulties that challenged the programs costs
and schedules. According to the Defense Department, these occurred
because the program and its contractors underestimated the complexity
of (1) designing laser components, (2) the systems engineering analysis and design effort, and (3) engineering the system to fit on board the


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

aircraft. It was found that the system would need a beam control/fire
control assembly that could (1) safely move the laser beam through the
aircraft, (2) shape the beam so that it would not be scattered or weakened
by the atmosphere, and (3) hold the beam on target despite the movement of the aircraft. In addition, engineers determined that the system
would need a battle management and control system capable of planning
and executing an engagement. In August 2001, the original Air Force estimate of developmental cost at $2.5 billion and the fielding projection of
2006 had to be extended to $3.7 billion and deployment pushed out to
2010. Meanwhile, in October 2001, the Pentagon transferred the project
to the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, subsequently known as the
The ABL program was restructured in February 2004 to focus on nearterm milestones and to provide a more realistic budget and schedule for
completing its development. A GAO briefing of the Senates Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, on March 4, 2004, reiterated the many shortcomings of the ABLs past performances. Also, Robert E. Levins May 17
letter, entitled Uncertainties Remain Concerning the Airborne Lasers Cost
and Military Utility, which forwarded the GAO briefing documents,
pointed out:
Predictions of the military utility of the initial ABL aircraft are still highly uncertain because these forecasts are not based on any demonstrated capability of the
system, but rather on modeling, simulations, and analysis. These assessment tools
predict that the initial Airborne Laser will be militarily useful against most theater
and intercontinental ballistic missiles; but flight-test data are not yet available to
anchor these tools. . . . When it is fielded, ABL is expected to require unique support for its laser and beam control and fire control components in addition to the
support burdens attached to all high-value air assets.28

The next year, its work plan was further refined, but technical problems associated with the programs beam control/fire control ground test
series added additional costs and prompted a schedule revision. During
2006, many laser subcomponents failed or were found to be deficient
and were blamed on inadequate quality control that reduced the lasers
power to 83 percent of the original goal. In March 2007, the GAO found
that the MDA faced serious challenges, as some of the ABL technologies
have to improve between 60 percent and 80 percent.29 Consequently, the
program encountered additional slippage, as a full-scale test to demonstrate the systems ability to shoot down a short-range missile was pushed
back to fiscal year 2009, and later delayed further to fiscal year 2010. Pentagon officials had planned to use a prototype to test-flight the ABL critical technologies in late 2008 but realized that its basic elements were not
ready. Program officials did express confidence that it would have the jitter effecta vibration phenomenon related to the stability of the laser
beamunder control to carry out the 2009 flight test.

The Status of Missile Defense Systems


Congress was becoming increasingly concerned about the affordability of the ABL system. Should the planned 2009 flight test, scheduled for
the fiscal years fourth quarter, accomplish all that its managers hoped
for, according to the GAO, they still had to make the business case that
the system is affordable and operationally feasiblea task that has not
yet been accomplished. Given that the program had incurred mounting
unbudgeted costs and encountered technical issues that require additional
time to rectify, the March 2009 GAO report concluded: MDA will need to
determine whether an operationally effective and suitable ABL system can
be developed with available technologies, funding, time and management
capacity. For example, the ABL will require unique support in addition
to the standard support required for the aircraft. To remain deployed for
extended periods of time, ABL will need a facility in the theater of operations that can store and mix chemicals for the high-energy laser. . . . These
[and other] support requirements and the cost associated with them have
yet to fully determined by MDA.30
The KEI program also has encountered technical difficulties. These
interceptors were designed to become part of the missile defense system
by destroying medium, intermediate, and ICBMs during the boost and
midcourse phases of their flight. The KEIs significant elements include
hit-to-kill interceptors, mobile launchers, and fire control and communications units. As a result of component integration and hardware manufacturing issues, funding was reduced during fiscal years 2004 to 2006. After
revisions in April 2007, the program limited its efforts to four aspects of
the interceptors booster with expectation of a booster flight test in fiscal year 2009. The operational design was planned to be finalized in 2011
when several elements will have been flight and ground tested.
In justifying its KEI budget, the program presented the Senate Appropriations Committee with its three prime objectives: (1) to develop a midcourse interceptor capable of replacing the current fixed Ground-based
interceptor (GBI) when the deployed GBIs become obsolete; (2) to develop
this interceptor so that it could be strategically deployed . . .; and (3) to
assume the boost- and ascent-phase intercept mission within the Ballistic
Missile Defense System if the ABL fails to meet its performance objectives.
The committee questioned the KEIs stated objectives because existing
systems can achieve the same goals, and that the missile is not suitable for
Navy platforms. Developing the KEI to replace the GBI, the committee
argued, was premature, as the GBI was currently undergoing continuous upgrades and retrofits, and still required significant testing. If new
midcourse interceptors were needed, it would be appropriate to consider
upgrading the THAAD system. Finally, the 40-inch diameter KEI is much
longer, nearly 39 feet, than the 21-inch diameter, 21 feet long, SM-3 Standard missile, and both missiles use a kinetic energy warhead designed to
ram an enemy missile. Apparently a KEI missile launch tube would be
so large it would replace six SM-3 launch tubes. Thats a poor exchange


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

ratio, according to one naval analyst. Consequently, the Appropriations

Committee recommended a reduction in the KEIs budget.31
* * *
At the end of George W. Bushs presidency, there appeared to be little
public discussion about the operational reliability of the various BMD
projects or the costs involved in their research and deployment. Despite
optimistic and often exaggerated official claims to the contrary, there was
considerable room for skepticism about the reliability of the administrations missile defense system. Indeed, few BMD projects could claim
to have been tested in a realistic setting, that is, tested in a real-world
environment, without scripted tests, fending off realistic countermeasures,
and manned by regular military units rather than civilian specialists.
The GMD system, with two dozen units deployed at Fort Greeley,
Alaska, and Vandenberg AFB, California, was the centerpiece of the
administrations program. As of the end of 2008, the system had managed
only 8 hits in 14 intercept tests that unfortunately did not capture the
fog of war. Only two fully successful tests had been conducted since the
GMD project was deployed. Admittedly, counting test successes and failures is something even the experts do not agree on. For example, does one
score the FTG-05 test on December 5, 2008 a success? The interceptor hit
its target, but the decoys failed to deploy; thus, the primary purpose of the
test was not achieved. Yet, because they hit the target, MDA counted this
test as a success. Although there is room for disagreement, this summary
also counts FTG-05 as a hit. Eight or so of the earliest tests all included
countermeasures, but those countermeasures did not closely resemble the
target. Consequently, skeptics have questioned whether they were realistic and challenging. Meanwhile, another test scheduled for 2008 was canceled, but this slippage was to be corrected with a new test anticipated in
2009. The test was again postponed until early 2010.
Problems also arose with the GMDs EKV that Bradley Graham described
as a 120-pound package of sensors, computers, and thrusters intended to
home in on the enemy warhead and pulverize it with the sheer forces of
a high-speed collision. Pentagon officials called its first flight intercept
test in 1999 a major success. A later reevaluation by skeptics, however,
suggested that the EKV apparently drifted off course and was finally
aided in locating its Minuteman target by a much larger, bright-colored
Mylar decoy balloon. A bitter conflict between Boeing and Raytheon corporations added to its fundamental technical difficulties and by 2008 had
caused considerable schedule slippage and cost overruns.32
The Aegis and THAAD projects designed to counter short-, medium-,
and intermediate-range ballistic missiles were more successful. The
Aegis system, originally developed to defend naval ships from enemy
aircraft, was added to the MDAs antimissile program by the Bush administration. Some public accounts labeled the Aegis as a mid-course

The Status of Missile Defense Systems


system; however, in 2008, its SM3 interceptor was too slow to successfully engage incoming ICBMs, although a faster model was under
development. Meanwhile, the Aegis ships could serve as sensor platforms that would allow them to engage in fire control tracking for other
antimissile units. During its flight testing, the Aegis system achieved a
solid record, to reiterate, of 15 successful exo-atmospheric intercepts
in 19 attempts, plus its successful 3 endoatmospheric intercepts, thus
accomplishing 18 successful intercepts in 22 tests. The THAAD system
was initially developed to protect troops and fixed locations from shortand intermediate-range ballistic missiles. After THAAD was transferred
to the MDA in late 2001, it was subjected to various modifications and
to a longer flight-testing schedule to determine the reliability of its interceptors. Following endoatmospheric and exoatmospheric intercepts, in
2008 the army organized its first THAAD battery consisting of 24 interceptors and 3 launchers. All in all, the THAAD system had successfully
conducted 11 flight tests between 2005 and 2009, including 6 for 6 successful intercepts.
The Patriot (PAC-2 and PAC-3) missile program, originally designed by
the army as an antiaircraft system, has been, and is, highly touted by the
Pentagon and Raytheon Corporation as a viable defender against shortand medium-range missiles. Indeed, as noted in an earlier chapter, it has
been widely marketed to Americas allies and friends. Yet in spite of all
the praise, the PatriotS performance in two Gulf wars has been less than
dazzling. During the 1991 conflict, the White House and Defense Departments enthusiastic claimsthat the PAC-2s interception rate of Scud
missiles was 41 of 42were subsequently vastly downgraded. Indeed, an
Israeli Air Force investigation found that there is no clear evidence of
even a single successful intercept. The Patriots record during the 2003
conflict, according to the U.S. Army, was nine for nine (they also shot
down 2 friendly aircraft), although no Scuds were involved. Why nine
other Iraqi missiles were not engaged is not clear. Thus, even with combat experience, Patriot units staffed by army personnel still have much to
prove regarding their effectiveness. Perhaps an even more serious consideration is that no Iraqi cruise missiles were intercepted, which could well
pose a serious problem for the future.
Other MDA programs have fared poorly. The ABL program, designed
to destroy enemy missiles during the boost phase of flight, encountered
serious technological problems and, thus, was unable to meet its schedules. MDA had hoped to flight-test a prototype in late 2008, but significant
deficiencies remained in the ABLs basic units. With schedule slippage
and mounting costs, questions were raised as to the ABLs affordability.
Meanwhile, the KEI program also had encountered technical difficulties,
involving integration of its basic components and hardware production.
After design and production modifications, the KEI was expected to conduct a booster flight test during 2009.


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

If most attention has been focused on the technical and operational

capabilities of the deployed systems, the broad political aspects of this
action and the financial costs of the various projects also have been matters of serious concern. From 2002 to 2008, the MDA spent $57 billion on
development and procurement of the initial units of its antimissile systems, a sum that may be added to approximately $120 billion expended
since 1945 in the same quest. As Richard F. Kaufman and others pointed
out, however, in their concise study, The Full Costs of Ballistic Missile
Defense: When a program requires many years of development, production, installation, and operation, the costs incurred at the beginning will
be misleadingly low as to the ultimate cost of the system. As weapons
systems have become more sophisticated and more complicated, this
disparity between ultimate and immediate costs has grown. But few, if
any, military or other systems match the long-run nature of the commitments involved in ballistic missile defense. After thorough examination
of the factors involved, these analysts concluded the long-run costs could
mount to the neighborhood of one trillion dollars. In a somewhat similar
vein, the GAO has pointed out the cost to operate and support a weapon
system traditionally accounts for over 70 percent of the total cost over the
systems lifetime, consequently, the resources needed to operate and
support BMDS could be significant over time. The GAO also noted in
a March 2009 report that various MDAs ballistic missile defense systems
have experienced cost overruns and vague accounting procedures. During the last few years, members of Congress, not surprisingly, gradually
began to ask more questions regarding the budgeting for the MDAs antimissile systems.33
The questions many observers were still asking at the end of the Bush
administration were which units in the missile defense program are actually reliable and are they, in the immediate years and the long-run, really
affordable? And how would the new president address these concerns?


The Obama Administration

and Missile Defense

In the spring and summer of 2008, anticipating the fall elections, supporters of missile defense in Congress were concerned about what the policies
of the next administration might be toward missile defense. As part of the
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, Congress called
for the next administration to conduct a full review of U.S. missile defense
policy and strategy.1 For all practical purposes the Ballistic Missile Defense
Review began with the transition team immediately after the election, but
it began officially in March not long after the inauguration.
The first indication of direction that the Obama administration might
take with missile defense seemed to justify those congressional concerns.
In early February 2009, the Office of Management and Budget proposed
cutting the Pentagons missile defense budget by $1.9 billion. As it turned
out, however, in April 2009, when the FY-2010 defense budget request was
released, the cut was about half that. The administration ended up proposing a $7.8 billion budget for the Missile Defense Agency for FY-2010.2
Thus the first Obama Missile Defense Agency (MDA) budget ($7.8 billion)
was the same as that requested by President George W. Bush in 2006, a bit
larger than what Bush requested in 2004 ($7.7 billion), and significantly
larger than the Bush request in 2003 ($6.7 billion). And the first Obama
MDA budget was equal to, or a few hundred million more, than funding
appropriated by Congress in four of the Bush years, including two years,
FY-2004 and FY-2006, when Republicans controlled both the Congress and
the White House. Republicans in Congress had not complained about too
little money for missile defense in those years, and so their complaints
when the Obama administration budget request was released seemed


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

more partisan than substantive. As one Republican staff member told the
journal CQ, In the long term, everybody is right. We Republicans have to
appreciate, too, that despite the rhetoric from the Obama campaign, they
only cut $1.2 billion from missile defense compared with what was appropriated in fiscal 2009.3
Moreover, many critics of Obamas budget request did not note that
much missile defense spending, roughly $3 billion, was not counted in
the MDA budget. These additional funds would be spent by the military
departments for programs such as Patriot, Medium Extended Air Defense
System (MEADS), Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netter Sensor ( JLENS), Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization ( JIAMDO), Space-Based Infrared System-High (SBIRS-High), or for
other missile defense projects that are outside the MDA budget. Patriot,
MEADS, and SBIRS-High are described in the previous chapter, JLENS
is basically an elevated radar to look over the horizon carried on a large
Aerostat balloon tethered to a ground station. JIAMDO is part of the staff
servicing the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and designated to plan,
coordinate, and oversee joint air and missile defense requirements.
Nor did the skeptics always note that the administration added roughly
$1 billion to its missile defense budget, including $700 million for more
Theater High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and Standard Missile-3
(SM-3) interceptors and $200 million to convert six more Aegis ships for
ballistic missile defense (BMD), that offset cuts in other areas. Perhaps
more stunning than the absolute size of the Department of Defense missile defense budget were the actions and comments made by Secretary
of Defense Robert Gates in announcing the presidents budget request.
Since Gates had been a long-time supporter of missile defense, defense
budget analysts had not expected his actions to cut or terminate missile
defense programs; however, he proposed to cut the ground-based missile
defense (GMD) system in Alaska by $524 million and the Airborne Laser
(ABL) program by $214 million, and to terminate the Multiple Kill Vehicle
(MKV) program, saving $283 million. Secretary Gates also terminated the
Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) program, and requested no new money
for missile defense in Europe, as the Defense Department had substantial
unobligated funds left over from prior years during which missile defense
in Europe had been delayed.4
* * *
In public testimony Gates used critical language not heard before from a
secretary of defense when addressing missile defense. For example, during
a House Armed Services Committee hearing on May 13, 2009, in response
to complaints from Republican Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona,
about the programs Gates had canceled, the secretary was blunt: I would
say that the security of the American people and the efficacy of missile
defense are not enhanced by continuing to put money into programs that

The Obama Administration and Missile Defense


in terms of their operational concept are fatally flawed, or research programs that are essentially sinkholes for taxpayer dollars.5 At another
House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing a week later, Gates
responded rather sharply to Kansas Republican Congressman Todd Tiahrts concern regarding the administrations failure to support the ABL:
I dont know anybody at the Department of Defense, Mr. Tiahrt, who
thinks that this program [airborne laser] should, or would, ever be operationally deployed. The reality is that you would need a laser something
like 20 to 30 times more powerful than the chemical laser in the plane right
now to be able to get any distance from the launch site to fire. . . . So, right
now the ABL would have to orbit inside the borders of Iran in order to be
able to try and use its laser to shoot down that missile in the boost phase.
Before the ABL would be close enough to its target, Gates emphasized,
the aircraft carrying the laser would have to invade Iranian territory first.
And if you were to operationalize this you would be looking at 10 to 20
747s, at a billion and a half dollars apiece, and $100 million a year to operate. And theres nobody in uniform that I know who believes that this is a
workable concept, he added. I have kept the first [aircraft]the prototype, Gates continued, because we do need to continue the research on
directed energy and on lasers, and that will be robustly funded because we
do need to continue developing a boost-phase capability. But, operationally, this first test, for example, is going to be from a range of 85 miles.6
At the same House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing,
with respect to the KEI program, which Gates had also canceled, he said:
The missiles 38 or 39-feet long. It weighs 12 tons. Theres no extant ship
we can put it on. We would have to design a new ship to put it on. And as
I say, it would have to operate in close proximity to the territorial waters
of these countries. . . . So for all these reasons, the decision has been made
that this is not a productive way to look at the booster problem. He also
pointed out that the decision to cancel the KEI had been made earlier by
the Bush administration: Actually, this is one decision that I cant take
credit for. The Missile Agency itself last fall, during the Bush administration, essentially eliminated the kinetic energy interceptor from its FY 10
POM [Program Objective Memorandum]. And the reasons for that are as
follows: First of all, this was to have been a five-year development program
and it now looks like its about a 16-year development program. More to
the point, he explained: a big part of the problem with this program is
that it needs to be close to the launch site to be able to be effectivethe
only potential country where it could have a role with some confidence
would be North Korea. It has poor capability against Iran and virtually no
capability against either Russia or Chinese launch facilities.7 Testifying
before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gates explained why the
MKV program was neither affordable nor appropriate to todays threats.
On the Multiple Kill Vehicle, the policy of the Bush administration and
the policy of this administration has been to develop a missile defense


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

against rogue nations, not against China and Russia, Gates said. And
the Multiple Kill Vehicle, in addition to schedule and cost and technology issues . . . was designed against a far more capable enemy than either
North Korea or Iran are going to be . . . for the next 10 to 15 years.8 In
his several trips to Capitol Hill to explain the presidents budget request,
Gates not only showed that he knew his facts, but revealed weaknesses in
some missile defense systems that were so fundamental that even if the
next development tests might go well, these programs still had no viable
operational future.
* * *
In addition to shifting priorities on individual missile defense projects, the Obama administration was also examining new concepts for the
defense of Europe from a potential Iranian ballistic missile attack. In a
study released in February 2009, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
had recommended four options for U.S. missile defense systems in Europe.
All four options involved the establishment of a Forward-Based X-band
Radar located in Gabala, Azerbaijan, or alternatively in Armavir in the
Krasnodar region of Russia between the Black and Caspian Seas. Thus all
four CBO options would require cooperation with, and participation by,
Russia on the establishment of a new radar site in or near Russian territory. Since Russian President Putin had proposed something quite similar
to President Bush in June 2007, the new administration presumed Russia
might still be amenable to such ideas.
The new administration saw several possibilities in such an approach.
Engaging Russia directly in U.S. missile defense plans for Europe would
help to establish American sincerity in wanting to reestablish relations
with Russia and further reduce the tensions between the United States
and Russia over proposed U.S. missile defenses in Europe. It could facilitate Russia and the United States coming to a new agreement on lower
levels of nuclear weapons beyond the Strategic Offensive Reductions
Treaty (SORT). Working with Russia also could increase the deterrence
pressure on Iran. If Iran were so reckless as to attack Europe, ordinary
military tactics would require that Irans first step would be to attack the
forward-based radar inside or near Russia to blind the eyes of the system. This would place Iran in the position of having to attack both Russia
and Europe at the same time. This approach would, in addition, send a
signal to NATO, Poland, and the Czech Republic that the Obama administration was taking a fresh look at missile defense in Europe and reviewing
its most effective options.
In fact, the MDA had already been involved in BMD discussions with
Russia, and the United States had proposed a set of transparency measures, including joint monitoring of potential threats, joint situational
awareness, cooperative regional missile defense architectures, and delay
fully operationalizing European sites until Iran demonstrates long-range

The Obama Administration and Missile Defense


missile capability. The United States and Russia had also discussed sharing of U.S. and Russian surveillance data.9
In February 2009, shortly after the inauguration, President Obama
wrote Russian President Medvedev offering to reconsider U.S. plans for
missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic in return
for Russia withholding its assistance to Irans long-range missile program.
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William J. Burns delivered the
letter during a visit to Moscow.10 President Obama had emphasized that
proposed U.S. missile defenses in Europe were not aimed at Russia, but
rather at Iran, and that he desired Russias support in dealing with the
* * *
Public opinion in Poland and the Czech Republic was still largely unfavorable toward the original Bush proposal. On March 17, 2009, the Czech
government removed from Parliamentary consideration the proposed
treaties on the installation of a missile defense radar in the Czech Republic rather than see them voted down. The center-right Czech government
had been supporting the radar, but the proposal had been unpopular with
Czech citizens and in the Czech Parliament.11 Then, on March 24 2009,
the Czech government collapsed after a no-confidence vote in Parliament.
Analysts varied in their assessment of the role that the controversial missile defense radar played in the governments loss. It was embarrassing,
however, for Czech President Vaclav Havel, a strong proponent for the
Bush system, who was midway through his term as president of the European Union.
On April 5, President Obama gave his famous speech in Prague stating Americas commitment to seek the peace and security of a world
without nuclear weapons. In a strong endorsement of the arms control
process, he also pledged to negotiate a new Strategic Arms Reduction
treaty with the Russians this year and to aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The Prague speech with
the pledge to shift Americas nuclear arms policies probably supported
Obamas Nobel Peace prize more than any other action. Missile defense
issues also figured in his speech. Citing the continuing missile threat from
Iran and North Korea, and praising the courage of Poland and the Czech
Republic in agreeing to host missile defense elements, Obama promised,
As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost effective and proven. Less often cited was
the very next sentence in the presidents Prague speech: If the Iranian
threat is eliminated, we will have a stronger basis for security, and the
driving force for missile defense construction in Europe will be removed.
In two sentences was the core of the new administrations policy: a pledge
to proceed with missile defenses in Europe as long as Iranian missiles
remained a threat, and the need to work with Russia and other countries


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

to eliminate that threat. However, the Obama administration was also

narrowing its definition of the threat.
Under President Bush, the Pentagon had exaggerated the ballistic missile threat to justify a world-wide layered missile defense system, with
interceptors launched from land, sea, aircraft (the ABL), and perhaps eventually from space, capable of shooting down enemy missiles of all types:
short range, medium range, long range, and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Furthermore, the Defense Department wanted the system
to be capable of shooting down enemy missiles in all phases of flightin
the ascending boost-phase, in the mid-course of flight, and in the terminal phase descending toward targets. The idea behind the layered defense
was that if one layer missed, perhaps the next layer would not. Pentagon briefings pictured giant glass domes covering the United States, and
Americans were meant to imagine that enemy missiles would bounce off
these glass domes like hail off a windshield. The missile defense system
proposed by President Bush for Europe was an extension of that plan.
Reinforcing the justification for U.S. missile defenses in Europe, Iran
periodically conducted sword-rattling missile tests and announced progress in its drive to enrich uranium. Iran always asserted that its nuclear
program was for peaceful purposes, to produce electric power, and not
for nuclear weapons, but its behavior on the international stage often had

The Airborne Laser (ABL) is a boost-phase missile defense system that is designed
to use directed energy to destroy a ballistic missile in the boost phase of flight.
Photo by MDA. (Courtesy: Department of Defense)

The Obama Administration and Missile Defense


been reckless. In particular, Iran would not cooperate consistently with

the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iranian leaders frequently engaged in wild denunciations and threats. Ironically, the missile
defense systems being proposed for Europe depended for their justification
on Iran behaving badly from time to time. If through creative diplomacy,
undoubtedly with help from other nations, Iran and the United States
could settle their differences, there would be no justification for missile
defenses in Europe.
This point had been established two years earlier on January 25, 2007,
when MDA Director Lt. General Obering held a reporters roundtable
where members of the media could ask him questions via conference call.
One reporter asked the director what would be the point of the European
site if the so-called Iranian threat went away, and Obering could not come
up with an answer. Where missile defense spending for Europe is concerned, the Pentagonever mindful of Russias ICBMshas been dependent on the idea that Iran is, or would soon become, a threat.
* * *
Beyond the proposed U.S. missile defense sites in Europe, the Bush
administration had urged a substantial buildup of missile defenses around
the world. During the Bush years, the Pentagon and the White House had
emphasized the worldwide threat from the proliferation of ballistic missiles to justify its own missile defense systems. For example, in October
2007, the White House announced, America faces a growing ballistic
missile threat. In 1972, just nine countries had ballistic missiles. Today, that
number has grown to 27 and it includes hostile regimes with ties to terrorists. Similarly MDAs Obering spoke of the growing threat from enemy
missiles by emphasizing that 20 countries possessed missiles. Yet, all but
two of those 20 countries, Iran and North Korea, are either friends, allies,
or countries from which the United States faced no missile threat, such as
Israel, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, South Korea, Moldova, Ukraine, Saudi
Arabia, Egypt, Moldova, and later Venezuela was added to the MDAs
list. With the exception of Russia and China, moreover, none of those
20 countries, including Iran and North Korea, had proven missiles that
could reach the United States.
By contrast, the Obama administration chose to focus its missile defense
plans on the existing missiles possessed by North Korea and Iran, not on
all the other countries that possessed ballistic missiles. If the administration was concerned with missile proliferation, it also recognized that
Americas friends and allies held most of those missiles. The threat from
Iran, the Obama administration acknowledged, was urgent and real
albeit limitedand that meant dealing with todays threat with existing
missile defense systems. Iran already possessed short- and medium-range
missiles that could reach its neighbors in the Middle East and in southeastern Europe. Similarly North Korea already had missiles that could
reach South Korea and Japan.


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

This shift in emphasis, to deal with todays threats first, led to what
the Obama administration would call a Phased-Adaptive Approach
for a missile defense in Europe. On September 17, 2009, the administration announced its new plan for Europe.12 This approach would rely on
deploying proven capabilities and technologies to meet current threats,
in particular existing navy Aegis ships with SM-3 interceptors, and landbased army THAAD and Patriot batteries. Arranged in four phases, the
plan would add longer range and faster interceptors later, especially landbased versions of the SM-3. Ironically, a provision added to the FY-2010
Defense Authorization Bill by congressional Republicans had helped
pave the way for Obamas Phased-Adaptive Approach. Language in both
the House and Senate Defense Authorization bills permitted the administration to take FY-2009 funds originally intended for the Bush plan of
ground-based interceptors (GBIs) in Poland and an X-Band radar in the
Czech Republic, and reallocate those funds to a phased approach with less
costly Aegis SM-3 interceptors and a different arrangement of radars. The
language required the phased system to be at least as cost-effective, technically reliable, and operationally available in protecting Europe and the
United States from long-range missile threats as the ground-based midcourse defense system.13
The Obama administration moved quickly to deploy missile defenses
near Iran, and on January 22, 2010, speaking at the Institute for the Study of
War, General David Petraeus, head of U.S. Central Command, announced
that two Aegis cruisers with SM-3 interceptors are in the Gulf at all times
now. Petraeus also said the eight Patriot missile batteries were deployed
in the region, two in each of four countries flanking Iran.14 While the original Bush administration plan focused on ICBMs, which Iran did not have,
his successors plan focused on what Iran actually possesses. These are
short- and medium-range missiles that can reach southern Europe. Then
too, the original Bush administration plan did not cover all of Europe,
prompting some members of Congress to ask why the United States
would defend some parts of Europe but not others.
The Obama plan does not initially cover all of Europe either, but it
does provide more immediate coverage from existing Iranian missiles. As
Defense Secretary Gates put it in his press conference on September 17,
2009, the Obama administrations program would produce coverage for
Europe six to seven years earlier than would the Bush plan. At the rate the
Bush plan had been proceeding, President Obama could serve two terms
and never see GBI interceptor coverage from Poland if he had stayed with
the Bush plan. Whereas the Bush bilateral approach had caused difficulties for NATO, the Obama administration plan would distribute defenses
under NATO, in step-by-step phases covering all of Europe, since NATO
is designed for all nations to work together for their common defense, not
one or two in bilateral arrangements. Thus while Bushs plan was bilateral,
U.S./Poland and U.S./Czech, the Obama plan provides full cooperation

The Obama Administration and Missile Defense


with NATO. Both Poland and the Czech Republic would still be involved,
but under the wider, more distributed plan.
At first, the Obama plan called for deploying missiles defenses to the
south closest to the threat, perhaps in Turkey. In December 2009, however,
Turkey objected to U.S. missiles defenses deployed on its soil because it
could harm Turkeys relations with Russia and Iran.15 This reaction from
Turkey added new complications to the administrations Phased-Adaptive
Approach plan. Under that plan missile defenses would be added, in
subsequent years, farther north to distribute missile defense forces in the
event Iran should develop longer range missiles that could target all of
Overall, the Obama plan was pragmatic and provided more coverage
sooner than the Bush plan would have, but it faced many of the same
obstacles. For example, most citizens in the Czech Republic still opposed
the establishment of a new X-band radar near Prague and welcomed the
cancellation of the original Bush proposal. In December 2009, a Czech polling organization, the Center for Public Opinion Research, reported that a
survey of Czech citizens revealed that 80 percent of the countrys residents
were pleased that the Czech Republic would not be hosting a U.S. radar
base; only 12 percent were disappointed.16
* * *
Countless news organizations initially reported that the Bush plan was
canceled. With few exceptions, the American press was so focused on
the notion that President Obama had charted a new course that it missed
almost entirely the fact that Obamas Phased Adaptive Approach had not
abandoned the Bush plan.17 Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General James Cartwright reinforced the continuing commitment to the originally proposed Bush system in a September 17, 2009 press conference. So
at the same time, were continuing the effort that we have ongoing today
on the ground-based interceptor, which is to build a two-stage capability.
Those tests . . . are funded, and will continue. So well have two ways to
address this threat, he declared. [w]e are not abandoning the work that
we are doing with the ground-based interceptor.
At the same press briefing, Defense Secretary Gates also hedged to keep
his options open relative to the future involvement of Poland and the
Czech Republic. His comments in this press conference were quite open
to future involvement by both countries. At one point, Secretary Gates
acknowledged: the Russians are probably not going to be pleased that
we are continuing with missile defense efforts in Europe. Subsequently,
he added:
We are very interested in . . . in continuing to work with the Czech Republic, in
terms of a piece of this architecture. And we are eager to go forward with the
framework agreement with the Czechs . . . that would allow that. Clearly, what


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

this represents is, if the Poles are interested in going forward, it meets their concerns about having this capability in Poland. And so I think that this is actually an
enhanced opportunity for . . . particularly the Polish government, but it also offers
opportunities for the Czech Republic as well.18

Nevertheless, the Obama plan was intended to make the resetting of

relations with Russia more likely. The importance of this goal to the administration was demonstrated in early March 2009, when Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton presented her counterpart Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov with a symbolic red button marked reset in English, but with
peregruzka in Russian, which means overload or overcharged.
Fortunately for the administration, the Russians responded to the incident in good humor, and a new path in American-Russian relations was
For both technical and strategic policy reasons, officials in Moscow had
been complaining about U.S. missile defense plans in Europe for years.
They saw those plans as encroaching on their traditional strategic sphere
of influence in Eastern Europe, as possibly being aimed at containing
Russias ICBMs, and the BMDs as having offensive potential. Russian
officials sometimes contradicted themselves by noting that because
of the large number of Russian ICBMs, many that used decoys and
countermeasuresthe Achilles heel of missile defenseeven futuristic
missile defenses would not be dependable against Russian ICBMs. The
Russian military and scientific establishment also recognized this fact, as
they had also tried to develop missile defenses and knew the difficulties
involved. In any case, Russia has so many ICBMs it must realize that it
can easily overwhelm U.S. missile defenses. That is, after all, why the
U.S. Congress shut down the Safeguard ABM system in the 1970s, just
one day after it was declared operational.
Given the context of the current administrations missile defense plans
for Europe, however, the promise of new and improved relations with
Russia was not without complications. Cooperation from Russia in dealing with Iran could be very helpful, and for technical reasons locating
a missile defense radar on or near Russian soil offered definite advantages. President Putins June 2007 proposal to Bush had suggested new
avenues for American-Russian cooperation, and the Obama administration desired to explore such proposals. Yet such cooperation could become
a partisan issue. If the Obama administration appeared to be conceding
any part of the defense of America to Russia, then Congress and American
voters could view the Obama administration as soft on defense or even
foolhardy. Confronted with these two sets of realities, the Obama PhasedAdaptive Approach for missile defenses in Europe included no specific
features that would involve Russian participation. Instead, the White
House said only, We also welcome Russian cooperation to bring its missile defense capabilities into a broader defense of our common strategic

The Obama Administration and Missile Defense


interests. We have repeatedly made clear to Russia that missile defense in

Europe poses no threat to its strategic deterrent.
The reaction from Moscow to the Obama plan was generally positive.
First of all, it is a victory for common sense, said Mikhail Margelov,
chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the upper house of Parliament, We perceive this as another positive signal suggesting that in
the current administration in Washington, pragmatism prevails over an
ideological approach to foreign policy. However, Maj. General Vladimir Dvorkin, former chief of Russian militarys main research institute
for nuclear strategy, warned: Everything depends on the scale of such
a system. If it comprises a multitude of facilities, including a space echelon, it may threaten the Russian potential of nuclear deterrence. Moscow understood that the Phased-Adaptive Approach contemplated much
more powerful interceptors and radars in the later years and, depending
on where those interceptors and associated radars might be located, that
the Obama plan might be no better from Russias point of view than the
original Bush plan.19
Another dimension, rarely discussed, was the impact of Americas continued missile defense activities on China. In contrast to Russias hundreds of ICBMs, China currently has about 20 missiles that could reach
U.S. targets. Some of those missiles also have countermeasures that could
confound American missile defense systems. If China should decide to
build up its stockpile of ICBMs in response to U.S. missile defense efforts,
it could probably overwhelm U.S. missile defenses. Moreover, if China
does that, U.S. missile defense programs will have destabilized an important segment of the international strategic environment.
* * *
U.S. missile defense plans for Europe posed a particular dilemma for
the Obama administration as it sought to negotiate a replacement for
the important Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) I signed by the
United States and the Soviet Union on July 31, 1991, and ratified by the
U.S. Senate on October 1, 1992. An essential element of START I, which
expired on December 5, 2009, 15 years after it had entered into force, was
that both parties had used its verification system to monitor SORT. The
Obama administration expended considerable effort to negotiate a successor treaty before START I expired, but with less than a year in office,
the deadline passed. Knowing how long treaty negotiations can take, the
Bush administration could have made this a priority while it was still in
office, but it did not. Now the Obama administration was faced with the
daunting challenge of negotiating a new treaty that could win the votes
of 67 senators, while also dealing with Russian objections over U.S. missile defenses in Europe that had not been a consideration when START I
was first discussed. The Obama administration was well aware of Russias
concernsrepeated again and again during the Bush years by President


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

Putin and by Russian defense ministers and generals. But in 2009 and
2010, the stakes were higher. Bush had only needed Russian acquiescence
to his plan to deploy U.S. missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech
Republic; Obama needed that too, but his administration also needed Russian cooperation on a new START pact.
Missile defense also had been an issue with START II signed by the
United States and Russia on January 3, 1993, which banned the use of multiple, independently targeted reentry vehicles. But it never entered into
force largely because Russian ratification was delayed in the Duma for
more than seven years, primarily resulting from Russian objections to the
U.S-led expansion of NATO. When the Duma finally did ratify START II
on April 14, 2000, it was with the condition that the ABM Treaty remain in
force; however, by then there were strong pressures in the U.S. Congress
to pull out of the ABM Treaty. When on June 13, 2002, the U.S. withdrew
from the ABM Treaty, Russia announced the next day that it would no
longer consider itself bound by START II.
This history was reflected anew in the negotiations for a replacement to
START I. On December 29, 2009, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declared
on television that Russia needed more detailed information about U.S.
missile defenses. Concerned that missile defense would give the United
States an advantage, Putin complained, The problem is that our American partners are developing missile defenses, and we are not. He went
on to explain that the issues of missile defense and offensive weapons are
closely interconnected. . . . There could be a danger that having created an
umbrella against offensive strike systems, our partners may come to feel
completely safe. After the balance is broken, they will do whatever they
want and grow more aggressive. Under the new START negotiations, the
United States was demanding unencrypted telemetry data from both U.S.
and Russian offensive missile tests to be shared, as was required under the
original 1991 START I agreement. Russia, in turn, was now coupling this
to more data about U.S. missile defenses.20
Ever since President Reagans famous Star Wars speech in 1983,
various Washington officials claimed they wanted to cooperate with Russia on missile defense, but through six administrations from Reagan to
George W. Bush, real cooperation failed to materialize. In both the United
States and Russia, missile defense skeptics questioned whether missile
defense could be effective. If both countries acknowledged that missile
defenses might never be effective under realistic operational conditions,
then the real benefit would be to show that Russia and the United States
could cooperate closely on a difficult matter. Conversely, if the Pentagon
would not acknowledge that missile defenses might not be effective under
realistic operational conditionsasserting that U.S. missile defenses actually might work in an all-out nuclear warit would be suggesting that
those U.S. missile defenses might work against Russian missiles. If those
defenses were located where they might be effective against Russia, this

The Obama Administration and Missile Defense


would be something that Russia could not accept. During the Bush years,
Russian officials had strongly indicated that they would not accept U.S.
missile defenses being deployed in Eastern Europe. They have reacted to
Washingtons indifference by threatening to pull out of the Conventional
Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty and by threatening to aim offensive missiles
at Europe, thus potentially restarting the Cold War. Moscow, moreover,
ordered the resumption of strategic bomber training flights and claimed
to have successfully developed new offensive ICBMs with maneuvering
reentry vehicles to defeat U.S. missile defenses. The Russians also stated
that they wanted the United States to halt consideration of the deployment
of attack weapons in space, which they found threatening to their security.
The Russian test on September 17, 2007, of the Father of All Bombs,
(FOAB) claimed to be four times more powerful than the conventional U.S.
20,000 pound Massive Ordnance Air Burst bomb, also called the Mother
of All Bombs(MOAB), was interpreted by many as yet another message
to the United States that the proposed missile defenses were unacceptable.
If, as Russia claimed, the FOAB was more powerful than the MOAB, then
it was indeed a new technological accomplishment, with the explosive
force of a small nuclear weapon.
Russia seemed to be going through a new, heady sense of nationalism
employing military accomplishments as the vehicle for its expression.
Some observers suggested that this new focus was to impress Russian voters more than to impress America and to secure President Putins future if
he should decide to run for president again, which is possible under Russian law after sitting out for a term. Undoubtedly, Putin did not mind if he
impressed Russian voters and secured his future, but it appeared to many
analysts that these developments were aimed more at the United States
than at Russian voters.
The Obama administrations persistent efforts eventually were rewarded
with the New SALT treaty signed on April 9, 2010, but the missile defense
issues were not resolved (see Reflections).
* * *
On December 11, 2009, Poland and the United States signed a Status of
Forces Agreement (SOFA) defining the legal status of 100 U.S. soldiers to be
stationed on Polish soil. These forces would operate Patriot and SM-3 missiles as part of the Phased-Adaptive Approach to missile defense in Europe.
This agreement completed the process begun in August 20, 2008 by President Bush when the United States and Poland signed the Declaration on
Strategic Cooperation. Under this pact, 10 GBI missiles were to be deployed
at a planned U.S. Air Force base in northern Poland. The revised SOFA,
however, described the deployment of a set of Patriot and SM-3 interceptors
with more modest technical capabilities than the GBIs. It was the capabilities of those GBIs, of course, that Russian officials had objected to all along,
and the Phased-Adaptive Approach sought to reduce their concerns.21


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

On January 2010, the Polish government announced that it would station in northern Poland the Patriot missiles scheduled for delivery in
April. Those missiles were originally to have been deployed near Warsaw,
but the Polish government decided to move them to Morag closer to the
border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. Polish officials said the
decision was operational, not strategic, and that no affront to Russia was
intended. Nonetheless, National Security Adviser James Jones and Joint
Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen immediately left Washington for
Moscow to reassure Russia and to try to prevent the Polish action from
unsettling negotiations on a replacement for START I.22 In July 2007, Russia had threatened to deploy nuclear-tipped offensive Iskander missiles
in Kaliningrad in retaliation for the Bush plan to station missile defense
interceptors in Poland. Then on November 5, 2008, Russian President
Medvedev had warned that not only would those Iskander missiles be
deployed, but that they would be aimed at U.S. missile defense systems
in Poland and the Czech Republic. On January 28, 2009, however, after
President Obama announced that his administration was reconsidering
the Bush plan for Europe, Russias plans for Kaliningrad were suspended.
Now, just one year later with the proposed deployment of U.S. Patriot
missiles so close to the Russian border, Russias hackles were up again and
the resetting of relations was in trouble.23
Some of the sharpest criticism of Polands new proposed basing of
Patriot missile defenses near the border of a Russian province came from
unexpected new quarters. For example, the Missile Defense Advocacy
Alliance (MDAA), a promissile defense industry lobbying organization,
called the plan provocative to Russia, as the U.S. Patriot Air Defense Units
to be deployed can only defend a very small area that will be composed of
Polish military forces that directly oppose Russian military forces across
the border in Kaliningrad. Aimed as they would be at Russia and not
Iran, the MDAA complained, this decision is directly providing Poland
a capability with deployed U.S. troops to defend Polish military against
Russia with no intention of the future threat from Iran to Europe. . . . It
would seem logical that those valuable and limited U.S. Missile Defense
assets, such as the Patriot, be deployed in a more useful position then [sic]
defending Poland against Russia. Pointing to the obvious, the MDAA
asked: How would our government, our military, our nation and our
public react to having Russian Army Soldiers with Russian S-300s Air and
Missile Defense units along our nations borders? Uncharacteristically
the MDAA was reflecting Russias point of view about all of the proposed
U.S. missile defense systems in Europe, not just the short-range Patriots.
In early March 2010, Poland signed a new version of the agreement that
it had concluded with the Bush administration on August 20, 2008. The
Polish government stated that this new protocol would replace the GMDtype interceptors with land-based versions of the Standard Missile-3 interceptors, silos for which would not be constructed before 2018. Washington

The Obama Administration and Missile Defense


indicated that it was not interested in placing long-range missile silos near
the Polish-Kaliningrad border. Also, Warsaw acknowledged that the system was being developed with the primary mission of guarding against
short- and medium-range Iranian missiles.24
On February 4, 2010, Romania announced that it had accepted an Obama
administration plan for basing U.S. missile defense interceptors.25 These
interceptors would be the more capable, SM-3 Block IB versions of the
Aegis SM-3. The plan envisioned deploying these interceptors in Romania by 2015 in Phase Two of the Phased-Adaptive Approach. Even more
capable SM-3 Block IIA interceptors would deployed in Poland in Phase
Three of the plan targeted for 2018.26 U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria James
Warlick announced on February 12 that the United States had begun informal talks with Bulgaria on hosting U.S. missile defense elements, and that
Bulgaria as well has a place in the US missile defense shield. Bulgarian officials indicated their openness to host missile interceptors to show
solidarity as a member of NATO. Romania and Bulgaria are closer to
Iran than Poland, and now Russia faced plans for U.S. interceptors in three
countries near its border. Under the Bush plan, these interceptors were to
be in Poland only. Also Romania and Bulgaria border the Black Sea, which
is regulated by the 1936 Montreux Convention that restricts combatant
vessels. To complicate matters further, a week later Prague announced
that it was in strategic talks with the Obama government on a plan to host
a command and control center for the Phased-Adaptive Approach.27 With
U.S. missile defense facilities now likely to be based in Poland, Romania,
Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic, to Russia the Obama Phased-Adaptive
Approach was beginning to look more threatening than the original Bush
plan for Europe.
Russia understandably expressed concern about exactly what direction
the Obama plan was taking. On February 6, a spokesman for the Russian
Foreign Ministry told reporters, We still have serious questions regarding the true purpose of the US missile system. Therefore, Andrei Nesterenko explained, we will continue to consistently oppose any dubious
unilateral actions in relation to the missile defense that can negatively
affect international security. In Moscows strongest statement of objection since it had learned of the U.S. missile defense plans for Romania
from media reports rather than directly from Washington or Bucharest,
Nesterenko said, We are again becoming witnesses to a hasty anti-missile
arrangement for Europe when the fragile architecture of European security
essentially becomes hostage to imaginary missile threats that are defined
unilaterally. To Russia these unexpected developmentsthe Romanian
surprise, followed by the Bulgarian surpriseraised questions regarding Washingtons sincerity in wanting an equal partnership.28
In nearby Moldova, the breakaway territory of Transdniestria announced
its willingness to field Russian Iskander tactical missiles in retaliation for
the expanding U.S. missile defense strategy. This was eerily reminiscent


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

of the earlier Russian threat to place Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad in

retaliation for the U.S. GBIs President Bush had proposed in Poland. Now
with Transdniestria making a similar type of threat, the Obama administration faced a situation with Russia in Transdniestria similar to what the
Bush administration faced with Russia in Kaliningrad.29
* * *
Just when the Obama administration had its hands full with Russia,
China conducted a surprise missile defense test of its own. On January 11,
2010, days after the Pentagon approved the export of new U.S. missile
defenses to Taiwan, China conducted a reportedly successful mediumto long-range missile defense test, making China only the second nation
to have successfully shot down a missile outside the atmosphere.30 The
test demonstrated a new Chinese defense capability and added another
dimension to the issue between China and the United States over Taiwan.
Most observers seemed to agree that China had conducted this test mostly
to express its anger with the United States for approving new arms sales
to Taiwan, including U.S. Patriot missiles. China had issued a half-dozen
warnings of impending grave consequences should the sales be approved;
consequently, the approval of the arms salescoming so soon after
Obamas November 2009 visit to Beijingmust have appeared to Chinese
officials as a lack of respect.31 Thus the Chinese governments announcement, in mid-January 2010, that it had successfully tested a ground-based
mid-course missile interceptor capable of destroying missiles in mid-flight
emphasized Chinas emerging antimissile technology. While it did not
elaborate on whether any missile or object had actually been destroyed,
Reuters on January 12, quoted the Chinese Foreign Ministry as saying,
The test has achieved the expected objective. . . . The test is defensive
in nature and is not targeted at any country. Longer term, Chinas new
missile defense system could lead to furthering the arms race, with China,
Russia, and the United States, not to mention India, Pakistan, and other
India wasted no time, announcing on February 11, 2010, that within the
month it too would conduct an exoatmospheric missile defense test, and
bragged that its missile defense system was superior to Chinas. This is
one area where we are senior to China, said V. K. Saraswat, the director of Indias Defense Research and Development Organization, referring
to Indian software algorithms, a key portion of any missile defense system.32 Unfortunately for Indian officials, the Associated Press reported on
March 15, 2010 that their latest antimissile test failed when the interceptor
refused to take off due to a technical failure. With a burgeoning new arms
race in missile defense and with U.S. budget deficits at record levels, pressure for more defense spending was hardly what the Obama administration needed.
The situation was compounded, however, when Iran announced, on
February 3, 2010, that it had launched a satellite into space, the third

The Obama Administration and Missile Defense


such test in recent years. This time the rocket sent a capsule into orbit
containing a rat, two turtles, and some worms. Although Iran said its
satellite test was for peaceful purposes, the launch showed that Iran
possessed much of the technology needed for an intercontinental-range
offensive missile. The premise behind the Phased-Adaptive Approach
was that the U.S. intelligence community now assesses that the threat
from Irans short- and medium-range ballistic missiles is developing
more rapidly than previously projected, while the threat of potential
Iranian intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capabilities has been
slower to develop than previously estimated.33 Irans testing of spacelaunch vehicles capable of traveling long distances was a challenge to
the Phased-Adaptive Approach. Then five days later Iran announced
that it would soon deploy a missile defense system of its own, produced
domestically and more capable than the Russian S-300 system that Iran
had ordered in 2007, a system that had never been delivered. Adding to
the mixed messages from Iran, on February 8, 2010, Iran formally notified the IAEA of its intent to enrich uranium to higher levels, 20 percent,
for Tehrans research reactor, but a step that could bring it closer to having enough uranium for a nuclear weapon.34
Meanwhile the Obama administration had its first experience with the
unpredictability of missile defense tests. On January 31, 2010, the MDA
attempted another GMD flight intercept test. The target and the interceptor both launched properly, but the interceptor missed. Going back
over a decade, the MDA had only had eight GMD flight intercept hits in
15 tries. Since late 2002, when President George W. Bush made his decision to begin deploying the GMD system, there had only been three hits
in eight tries, and during the most recent five years only two hits out of six
tries. More often than not something had gone wrong, sometimes with the
target if not with the interceptor. The timing of this failure was awkward,
coming as it did the day before the administration released its FY-2011
budget requests, including a boost in funding for missile defense.
A few days later in tests off the California coast, the ABL, now being
called the Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB), following Secretary Gates decision to send the program back to the research phase, successfully shot
down a solid-fueled Black Brant sounding rocket. Then on February 11, the
ALTB also shot down a short-range liquid-fueled ballistic missile. An hour
later, however, in a second attempt to shoot down another Black Brant
sounding rocket, the ALTB failed, reportedly because of a beam misalignment problem. Success in two of the three laser tests, tests that had first
been scheduled for 2002 but repeatedly delayed, prompted ABL advocates
in Congress to immediately call for Secretary Gates to reverse his decision to curtail the program. The Pentagon quickly responded, however,
that Gatess fundamental issues of cost, too little range and power, and
an unworkable concept of operations had not been addressed. We still
very much want to pursue development of this promising technology,
a Pentagon spokesman said, and well figure out down the road what


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

the appropriate and cost-effective platform is. To punctuate Gatess decision, at a February 23, 2010, House Armed Services Committee hearing,
Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwartz stated flatly, the reality is that
this does not reflect something that is operationally viable.35
* * *
In early February 2010, the Obama administration also completed the
BMD Review required by Congress. The same week the administration also
released to Congress its annual National Security Strategy documentthe
Quadrennial Defense Reviewand submitted the annual federal budget
for FY-2011. Together all these documents portrayed an administration
with surprisingly little policy differences from the Bush administration
that had preceded it.
The administrations BMD Review issued strong warnings about the
threat. In his cover letter Defense Secretary Gates warned that the threat
from ballistic missile attack to our deployed military forces and to our
allies and partners is growing rapidly. The report echoed this view and
reported that the ballistic missile threat is increasing both quantitatively
and qualitatively. The BMD Review also claimed that the United States
is currently protected against limited enemy ICBM attacks, an assertion
called into question by the GMD test failure the day before.
The Obama administration canceled a few military acquisition programs, but the overall direction for defense spending was about the same,
and missile defense in particular was well funded. For Fiscal Year 2011,
the Obama administration requested $8.4 billion for the MDA, an increase
from its FY-2010 request of about $600 million. This increase brought the
Obama budget request for FY-2011 to a level exactly equal to the average budget request for the MDA during the eight-year tenure of the Bush
administrations. The latest Obama request included $281 million for a
new program element Land-based SM-3, also called Aegis Ashore,
to develop new faster and more powerful land-based Aegis interceptors
for the missile defense of Europe. Over the five fiscal years of the budget
request, the Obama administration requested $1.047 billion for this new
program. Along with $1.467 billion for BMD Aegis ($5.602 billion over
the FYDP), and $319 million for Aegis SM-3 Block IIA interceptor development in cooperation with Japan ($1.705 billion over the FYDP), it was
clear that the Obama administration was placing high priority on Aegis
systems going forward.
Similarly, for the THAAD system, also part of the Phased-Adaptive
Approach for the missile defense of Europe, the administration requested
$859 million in FY-2011 procurement funds to buy 67 more interceptors
and two additional THAAD batteries, more than doubling the FY-2010
THAAD procurement budget request.36 These sums did not count about
$3 billion in other missile defense spending requested for the Military
Department and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The Obama Administration and Missile Defense


For example, funding for Patriot (PAC-3) in the budget of the U.S. Army
was requested at about $0.5 billion, for MEADS about $0.5 billion, and
funding for SBIRS-High in the Air Force budget at about $1.5 billion. Thus
an outside observer viewing the defense budgets of the Bush administration, and also its missile defense budgets, and comparing them with the
second defense budget of the Obama administration, might not be able to
determine which budget had been submitted by which president.
To be sure, the Obama administration had made a mark on missile
defense policy by adopting its Phased-Adaptive Approach in Europe, and
by canceling or cutting several missile defense projects such as the MKV
and the ABL. Defense Secretary Gates had been especially forceful about
those decisions. But in its second year, the Obama administration had also
added several new missile defense projects, notably the new Land-Based
SM-3 interceptors, and Airborne Infrared, a new $112 million program
to track ballistic missiles with sensors on unmanned aerial drones. The net
result produced a missile defense budget request that stood eye-to-eye
with the earlier Bush administration requests.
When President Obama asked Gates to stay on as secretary of defense
that decision foretold an overall direction that would continue Americas major commitment to missile defense. As Gates wrote in the New
York Times shortly after the Phased-Adaptive Approach was announced,
I have been a strong supporter of missile defense ever since President
Ronald Reagan first proposed it in 1983.37 Although the news media
regularly reported that the Obama administration was scaling back Reagans vision or scrapping the Bush plan for Europe, such reporting
missed the point that the Obama administration was fully committed to
the missile defense concept.38
* * *
Early in its tenure the Obama-Biden administration had declared that it
would support missile defense, but ensure that it is developed in a way
that is pragmatic and cost-effective; and, most importantly, does not divert
resources from other national security priorities until we are positive the
technology will protect the American public.39 Despite its undoubtedly
sincere attempt to make a fresh start on missile defense policy, and especially proposed missile defenses in Europe, by the end of its first year in
office, the Obama administration found itself no better off than the Bush
administration. In some respects, it was worse off. Russia continued to
express objections to U.S. missile defense plans in Europe, but possessed
greater diplomatic leverage because of the START I renegotiations. China
had emerged as a new and stronger player in missile defense with its January 2010 exoatmospheric flight intercept test. Poland was causing new
problems with Russia over deployment of Patriot missiles near Russias
Kaliningrad province, and the citizens of the Czech Republic largely still
opposed placing U.S. missile defense hardware on Czech soil. Moreover,


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

the Obama administration had committed itself to continuing work on the

GBIs originally proposed by President Bush to be deployed in Poland. The
plan to also base interceptors in Romania and possibly Bulgaria added to
Russias concerns.
As the Obama administration entered its second budget year with
its FY-2011 budget request, it was spending as much money on missile
defense as had the Bush administration and had done little new testing to
show that the technology was cost effective and would protect the American public. The original Bush proposal to establish missile defense sites
in Poland and the Czech Republic had alienated Russia to a degree not
seen since the height of the Cold War and for no good purpose. The proposed missile defense system in Europe had not demonstrated capability
to defend the United States, let alone Europe, under realistic operational
conditions. Although the Obama administration had recommitted to
working with Poland and the Czech Republic under the Phased-Adaptive
Approach, it received little credit within those countries.
Those citizens in Poland and the Czech Republic who had opposed the
whole concept from the outset believed that while the Phased-Adaptive
Approach would bring different missile defense systems, they would
remain possible targets of Iran, of terrorist actions, and perhaps also of
Russia. At home, the administration found itself being criticized by missile
defense advocates for not staying the course with the original Bush plan,
for not being sympathetic to the needs of Poland and the Czech Republic,
for placing less importance on relations with Eastern Europe than on relations with Russia, and for portraying America as an undependable ally.
It is a truism that Americans and the U.S. military have a tendency to
count on technological breakthroughs to solve thorny national security
problems. Many Europeans also had accepted the concept that American
technology could be relied on to solve international conflicts. Technology
has produced some amazing advances, such as personal computers and
the Internet, that have changed our lives at home and at work. But too
often America relies on technology as the first, best hope to save us from
our problems. This is apparent in fields as diverse as defense, medicine,
and the environment. By appealing to a single-point technological fix,
we hope we can avoid dealing with the long-term problem. In national
security, as in other fields, we have used our hope for technological relief
as an excuse to avoid accommodating or dealing with our adversaries
sometimes at a very high cost in political and economic terms, sometimes
in dangerous self-delusion about our own military capabilities in the
global environment in which we all exist. The Bush administration pursued the promise of missile defense technology for eight years, and now it
appears that with somewhat different technology, the Obama administration is going down the same path.
After decades of research and development, it still remains to be seen
if this technology could be relied on in battle. On March 1, 2010, the Gov-

The Obama Administration and Missile Defense


ernment Accounting Office (GAO) released a new report that summed up

the many changes that had been made in the overall BMDs in 2009, in its
various elements, and in the management of those elements. The GAO
stated that it could not say how dependable the overall system would be
in battle, and that overall BMDS performance cannot be assessed because
MDA models are not sufficiently mature. The report also noted that the
BMDs Operational Test Agency could not project which models and simulations could be accredited or when, and that the models required to project overall system performance may not be adequate until 2016, five years
later than the GAO projected a year earlier in 2009.40
Nonetheless, in 2010 the concept of possessing a missile defense system
has become deeply ingrained in the Pentagon and is championed by the
Democratic congress and the White House. I would never have thought
between last year and now that wed be sitting here with a program that
has broad global support, broad national support, bipartisan support on
the Hill, General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff declared. At a conference of missile defense contractors in late March,
Cartwright noted that few critics challenged the notion of whether the
United States should press ahead with missile defenses. Now, he said,
were really in a mode thats How fast can you produce?.41
Ironic as it seems, it may be that the first year of the Obama administration did more to make missile defense politically acceptable than eight
years of efforts by the Bush administration.


Although framed in the rhetoric of defending America, George W.

Bushs decision to deploy Americas ground-based midcourse defense
(GMD) program in Alaska and California was a politically driven act designed to fulfill a portion of the Republican Partys mantra. Testimony to
the decisions political nature was the fact that just a few days earlier, on
December 11, 2002, an important GMD flight intercept test failed. Moreover, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) would not attempt a similar test
for two more years and would not conduct another successful GMD flight
interceptor test for four years. Obviously, the operational readiness of the
system was not so much a consideration in the deployment decision as the
desire to put silos in the ground and components in place so that the program could not be easily reversed. In this regard, the Bush administration
was successful. President Obama has continued supporting the GMD, as
well as other components of the antimissile program and, unfortunately,
has suffered a fate similar to Bush. At the end of the Obama administrations first year, shortly before it released a supportive budget in early
February, a major flight test of the GMD system on January 31, 2010 also
failed. Given the reluctance of many in Congress to seriously question reliability issues, cost overruns, or test failures, the missile defense program
has become a permanent, flourishing part of Americas military industrial
The Bush administrations strident efforts to establish U.S. missile
defenses in Eastern Europe has been modified by Obamas national security team, but the overall effort including the signing of a New START
treaty has not soothed the Russians. This has resulted in a curious series of



rationalizations. Washington has tried to convince Moscow that Americas

missile defenses will not work against Russian missiles; rather, they will
work only against Iranian missiles. And Washington has said to Tehran, in
so many words, since we can shoot down your missiles you are wasting
time and resources building them. The Russians have not accepted this
fiction, recognizing that if the U.S. missile defenses can shoot down longrange Iranian missiles, they could also be used against Russian missiles.
Since Moscow was aware that the U.S. missile defenses face many technical obstacles and were not likely to protect Europe in an all-out nuclear
war with Iran, the basic issue was one of treading on Russias sphere of
The argument that a terrorist group may launch a single nuclear-armed
missile at the United States or Europe is highly unlikely given the complex
nature of construction, deployment, and launch with accuracy. It is even
more unlikely that any sovereign state would allow a launch from its territory knowing the terrible retaliatory consequences of such an act. As has
been pointed out time and again, it is far more likely that a terrorist attack
with a weapon of mass destruction would employ a ship, truck, or commercial aircraft to reach its target.
In reviewing the Pentagons enthusiastic reports of any successful
achievement in the U.S. GMD program to defeat intercontinental ballistic
missiles (ICBMs), a skeptic detects the fervor similar to that which must
have driven the architects of Chinas Great Wall and Frances Maginot
Line. After the expenditure of billions of dollars and the expectation of
spending many more, the technological fix to the GMD sought by the
Bush administration to provide Reagans glass dome to shield the nation
from long-range missile attack is still far in the future, if attainable at all.
It is, nevertheless, worrisome that the Pentagon seems to be engaging in a
dangerous self-delusion about its own antimissile capabilities.
Only the most diehard supporters of a nationwide missile defense system are seemingly able to avoid looking at its several evident limitations.
First of all, BMD systems designed to destroy long-range missiles can be
countered by building a large arsenal of faster, more maneuverable ICBMs.
It is less costly, as former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara pointed
out in the 1960s, to build offensive missiles than defenses to counter them.
Second, decoys and countermeasures introduced in the missiles and warheads pose a major threat to GMD systems. The deployed antimissiles
in Alaska and California have yet to demonstrate an ability to overcome
them. Third, the Bush administration belatedly recognized that an ICBM
assault is most likely to be a raid attack involving the launching of
several missiles loaded with countermeasures and, most likely, multiple
warheads. In such a barrage, some warheads will penetrate existing antimissile defenses. Fourth, any leakage in the missile defense will result
in substantial destruction, for these missiles and warheads will be carrying nuclear devices for the U.S. antimissile system is not designed to deal


The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush

with many small containers carrying biological weapons. Any resultant

nuclear explosions, whether caused by missiles exploding before or on
contact, or warheads hitting their targets, would disrupt command and
control systems, as well as satellite and computer detection systems. This
nuclear environment could disable the BMD system in addition to causing
extensive other damage.
Americas missile defense program has witnessed some promising successes during the past decade, along with many setbacks.1 Tests of the
Aegis, THAAD, and Patriot systems have shown promise in countering
short- and/or medium-range ballistic missiles. There are obvious advantages to improving these units to provide battlefield protection from shortrange missiles. Officials of the MDA, however, have shown little concern
with the recent dramatic proliferation of cruise missiles. During the 2003
U.S. invasion of Iraq, while Patriot units successfully engaged nine shortrange ballistic missiles, they failed to intercept any of the primitive Iraqi
cruise missiles.
Consequently, the improvement of American defense against shortand medium-range ballistic missiles, Dennis M. Gormley has written, has
made land-based cruise missiles much more attractive to the countries
adversaries because U.S. cruise missile defenses remain weak and poorly
managed. Upgraded fighter aircraft may possess a modest capability
to detect and track a few incoming cruise missiles. If the cruise missile
threat grows uncontrollably, as Gormley, author of Missile Contagion:
Cruise Missile Proliferation and the Threat to International Security (2008) continued, the comparative high cost of missile defense interceptors could
make such defenses increasingly unaffordable and ultimately ineffective
in coping with combined ballistic and cruise missile attacks. He charges:
Existing U.S. cruise missile defense programs are underfunded, while
doctrinal, organizational, and interoperability issues continue to discourage military services from producing truly joint solutions for defending
U.S. forces and allies. Moreover, Gormley argues cruise missile defenses
for safely projecting force overseas should take priority over the more
improbable threat of a terrorist group launching a cruise missile from a
freighter.2 A partial solution to slowing the proliferation of cruise missiles
would be to repair the Missile Technology Control Regime to halt the flow
of foreign skills and technology.
The Obama administration did succeed in concluding a series of intense
negotiations with the Russians in late March 2010 for a new treaty to replace
START Ithe New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) signed
on April 8 at Prague. Because relations between Washington and Moscow
had so soured under the Bush administration, reaching an all-time low
during the post-Cold War era, negotiations had proceeded slowly in order
to overcome the Russians distrust of Americas antimissile plans. Not surprisingly, when Romania announced in February that it would host one
of the proposed U.S. missile interceptor sites, Moscow again became wary



of Washingtons antimissile program. In a telephone conversation with

Obama, Russian president Medvedev asked that the two nations issue a
joint statement aimed at limiting the U.S.s missile defense program, but
the American president refused. Obama did, however, suggest each nation
issue a nonbinding unilateral statement spelling out its position. Russia
did issue a unilateral statement on April 7, 2010, stating that it could withdraw from the treaty if U.S. missile defenses give rise to a threat to the
strategic nuclear force potential of the Russian Federation. With or without this statement, of course, Russia would have the right to unilaterally
withdraw from the treaty at any time just as the Bush administration did
from the ABM Treaty. The United States issued its own unilateral statement the same day, declaring that its missile defenses are not intended
to affect the strategic balance with Russia. This statement, however, did
little to allay Moscows concerns even though the treaty did recognize
the existence of the interrelationship between strategic offensive arms
and strategic defensive arms, that this interrelationship will become more
important as strategic nuclear arms are reduced, and that current strategic
defensive arms do not undermine the viability and effectiveness of the
strategic offensive arms of the Parties.
Republican opposition to any restraints on the U.S.s antimissile program
was revealed in a March 15 letter sent to the president by Senate Minority
Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona. It was highly unlikely, they wrote, that the Senate would ratify the
New START treaty should it contain a linkage of offensive weapons and
missile defense or be accompanied by unilateral declarations that the
Russian Federation could use as leverage against you or your successors
when U.S. missile defense decisions are made. In briefing the media in
late March, Secretary of Defense Gates insisted that U.S. missile defense
is not constrained by this treaty. Regardless, the ratification process will
undoubtedly be contentious in both Washington and Moscow.
At the Prague signing, President Medvedev summarized Moscows continuing concern with the U.S.s missile defense program: I am convinced
that all that has been done so far is just the beginning of a long way, long
way ahead. I wouldnt like to see the Russian Federation and the United
States be narrowed down to just limiting strategic offensive weapons.
Nevertheless, he cautioned, It matters to us what will happen to missile
defense. It is related to the configuration of our potential and our capabilities, and we will watch how these processes develop.3
Given Russian and various other nations responses, the U.S.s missile
defense saga appears likely to continue for some time.

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1. [Forrestal] Diary entry, 7 Sept. 1945, Walter Millis, The Forrestal Diaries (New
York: Viking, 1951), 93; see also Richard Dean Burns and Lester H. Brune, The
Quest for Missile Defenses, 19442003 (Claremont, CA: Regina Books, 2003) for early
BMD developments.
2. Bradley Graham, Hit to Kill: The New Battle Over Shielding America From Missile Attack (New York: Public Affairs, 2002): xxvi, 390.
3. Richard F. Kaufman, ed. The Full Costs of Ballistic Missile Defense (Washington, DC: Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Economists Allied
for Arms Reduction, Jan. 2003) see at www.ecaar.org; Burns and Brune, The Quest
for Missile Defenses, 221224; U.S. Government Accountability Office, Missile Defense: Actions Needed to Improve Planning and Cost Estimates for Long-Term Support of
Ballistic Missile Defense, GAO-08-1068 (Washington, DC: Sept. 2008); GAO, Defense
Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs, GAO-09-326SP (Washington,
DC: Mar. 2009).
4. James M. Lindsay and Michael E. OHanlon, Defending America: The Case
for Limited National Missile Defense (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press,
2001), 12; see also Craig Eisendrath, Melvin A. Goodman, and Gerald E. Marsh,
The Phantom Defense: Americas Pursuit of the Star Wars Illusion (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2001).
5. Philip Coyle, prepared remarks before the House Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Strategic Force, The Future of Missile Defense Testing,
Washington, DC: Feb. 25, 2009, p. 8.
6. Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, FY-2009 Annual Report (Washington DC: The Pentagon, Dec. 2009).



7. Lindsay and OHanlon, Defending America, 2; Daryl G. Kimball, Missile

Defense Collision Course, Arms Control Today ( July/Aug. 2007): 3.
8. Lindsay and OHanlon, Defending America, 12.
9. Jennifer G. Mathers, The Russian Nuclear Shield From Stalin to Yeltsin: The
Cold War and Beyond (New York: St. Martins, 2000), 1.
10. Richard Speier, Missile Nonproliferation and Missile Defense: Fitting
Them Together, Arms Control Today (Nov. 2007): 1520.

1. Donald R. Baucom, The Origins of SDI, 19441983 (Lawrence: University
Press of Kansas, 1992), 3.
2. Ibid., 36.
3. Ralph E. Lapp, Arms Beyond Doubt: The Tyranny of Weapons Technology (New
York: Cowles, 1970), 3738; Mark A. Berhow, US Strategic and Defensive Missile Systems, 19502004 (New York: Osprey, 2005), 911, 24.
4. Baucom, Origins of SDI, 1114; Ernest J. Yanarella, Technology in Search of
a Mission, rev. & updated (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2002), 35,
5. Lapp, Arms Beyond Doubt, 3839; Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower: The President (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984), 312314, 561563.
6. Baucom, Origins of SDI, 14, 2021; Dwight D. Eisenhower Waging Peace: The
White House Years, 19561961 (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1965), 220224; Gregg
Herken, Counsels of War (New York: Knopf, 1985), 187.
7. Strobe Talbott, The Master of the Game: Paul Nitze and the Nuclear Peace (New
York: Knopf, 1988), 6870.
8. Herken, Counsels of War, 140.
9. Richard Aliano, American Defense Policy From Eisenhower to Kennedy, 1957
1961 (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1975), passim for politics of missile gap
10. Yanarella, The Missile Defense Controversy, 88; Richard Dean Burns and Lester H. Brune, The Quest for Missile Defenses, 19442003 (Claremont, CA: Regina
Books, 2004), 23; Baucom, Origins of SDI, 20.
11. Benson D. Adams, Ballistic Missile Defense (New York: American Elsevir,
1971), 3949; Yanarella, The Missile Defense Controversy, 8186; J. I. Coffey, The Antiballistic Missile Debate, Foreign Affairs (April 1967): 403413; John Prados, The
Soviet Estimate: U.S. Intelligence Analysis & Russian Military Strength (New York:
Dial Press, 1982), 151171.
12. Baucom, Origins of SDI, 22.
13. Yanarella, The Missile Defense Controversy, 123124; Adams, Ballistic Missile
Defense, 3949.
14. Lapp, Arms Beyond Doubt, 4849; Bird, Scientists in Conflict, 186187; Herken,
Counsels of War, 195197.
15. Gerald C. Smith, Disarming Diplomats: The Memoirs of Gerald C. Smith, Arms
Control Negotiator (Lanham, MD: Madison Books, 1996), 170; John Newhouse, Cold
Dawn: The Story of SALT (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1973), 8789, 100.
16. Aleksandr G. Savelyev and Nikolay N. Detinov, The Big Five: Arms
Control Decision-Making in the Soviet Union (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1995), 45;



G. Gerasimov, The First Strike Theory, International Affairs 3 (Mar. 1965): 4245;
also see N. Talenskii, Antimissile Systems and Disarmament, International Affairs
10 (Oct. 1964): 1519 (reprinted in the BAS, Feb. 1965); Robert D. English, Russia
and the Idea of the West: Gorbachev, Intellectuals & the End of the Cold War (New York:
Columbia University Press, 2000), 107.
17. Savelyev and Detinov, The Big Five, 45; Raymond Garthoff, Dtente and
Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan, rev. ed. (Washington,
DC: Brookings Institution, 1994), 153; Talbott, Master of the Game, 104105.
18. Newhouse, Cold Dawn, 100; on the Soviet S-35 ABM system and Aldan,
see Pavel Podvig, ed. Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces (Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2001,
19. Jacqueline M. Bird, Scientists in Conflict: Hans Bethe, Edward Teller and the
Shaping of United States Nuclear Weapons Policy, 19451972 (Claremont, CA: Regina
Books, 2009), Bethe quoted 144, 173; Hans Bethe and Richard L. Garwin, AntiBallistic Missile Systems, Scientific America 218:3 (Mar. 1968): 2131.
20. Edward Reiss, The Strategic Defense Initiative (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
University Press, 1992), 736.
21. Lapp, Arms Beyond Doubt, 48.
22. Public Papers of the Presidents, Richard M. Nixon for 1969: News Conference of March 14, 1969 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1971): 208209;
Henry Kissinger, The White House Years (Boston: Little, Brown, 1979), 209210; Gerald C. Smith, Disarming Diplomat: The Memoirs of Gerald C. Smith, Arms Control
Negotiator (Lantham, MD: Madison Books, 1996), 159.
23. Garthoff, Dtente and Confrontation, 151, fn. 8., 153; Kissinger, White House
Years, 209.
24. Talbott, Master of the Game, 111114 and fn 4, 398; Memo, Lawrence E. Lynn
(NSC) to Henry Kissinger, Mar. 10, 1969, quoted in Bird, Scientists in Conflict, 214.
25. Kissinger, White House Years, 209; Ambrose, Nixon, 288290; Garthoff, Dtente and Confrontation, 146149, including 149, fn. 5.
26. Newhouse, Cold Dawn, 166167; Kissinger, White House Years, 822; Savelyev
and Detinov, The Big Five, 2122.
27. Garthoff, Dtente and Confrontation, 162, 165; Dobrynin, In Confidence,
213214; Kissinger, White House Years, 542.
28. Garthoff, Dtente and Confrontation, 166167.
29. Ibid., 166175; on proposals to ban all ABMs, see p. 174, fn. 69; Dobrynin,
In Confidence, 214216.
30. Talbott, Master of the Game, 126127.
31. Ibid., 127.
32. Ibid., 128129, 130134.
33. Ibid., 132134; Garthoff, Dtente and Confrontation, 183194; Ambrose, Nixon,
525551; Kissinger, White House Years, 810823, 12161246; Dobrynin, In Confidence,
216222, 250257.
34. Garthoff, Dtente and Confrontation, 217219; Talbott, Master of the Game,
134136; Senate Hearings before the Committee on Foreign Relations, 92nd Congress, 2nd Session, Strategic Arms Limitation Agreements (Washington, GPO: 1972).
35. Garthoff, Dtente and Confrontation, 214215.
36. Ibid., 474480.
37. See Ch. 8 in Gloria Duffys Compliance and the Future of Arms Control (Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1988), 163184, for a discussion of the SCC.



38. Berhow, US Strategic and Defensive Missile Systems, 3336.

39. Ibid., 36; see also Craig Eisendrath, Melvin A. Goodman, and Gerald E.
Marsh, The Phantom Defense: Americas Pursuit of the Star Wars Illusion (Westport,
CT: Praeger, 2001): 78; Missile Defense Agency MDAlink, Missile Defense Milestones, 19442000, at www.acq.osd.mil.bmdo.bmdolink/html/history.

1. Raymond L. Garthoff, The Great Transition: American-Soviet Relations and the
End of the Cold War (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1994), 139142;
Ronald Brownstein and Nina Easton, Reagans Ruling Class (Washington: Presidential Accountability Group, 1982), 524536, includes the list of CPD members in
Reagans administration as of 1982.
2. Frances Fitzgerald, Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars and the End
of the Cold War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000), 116117.
3. Ibid., 119120; Lou Cannon, President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime (New
York: Public Affairs, paperback ed., 2000): 250254, passim.
4. Robert McFarlane, Special Trust (New York: Cadwell and Davies, 1994):
226227; Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 190191; Strobe Talbott, The Master of the Game:
Paul Nitze and the Nuclear Peace (New York: Knopf, 1988), 195196.
5. Donald R. Baucom, The Origins of SDI: 19441983 (Lawrence: University
Press of Kansas, 1992), 181192 has quote by Weinberger; Gregg Herken, Cardinal
Choices: Presidential Science Advisors from the Atom Bomb to SDI (New York: Oxford
University Press, 1992), 207212; Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 196207; George P.
Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State (New York: Scribners,
1993), 245256. Also see, William Broad, Tellers War (New York: Simon & Schuster,
1992), 123126; Daniel O. Graham, High Frontier: A New National Strategy (Washington DC, High Frontier, 1982); Edward Reiss, The Strategic Defense Initiative
(Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 4647.
6. Cannon, President Reagan, 279288; Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 194197.
7. Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 204206; Shultz, Turmoil, 256.
8. Ronald Reagan, An American Life (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990),
571572; Public Papers of the Presidents, Ronald Reagan, Part 1 for March 23, 1983,
437439; Walter Isaacson, Reagan for Defense, Time (April 4, 1983): 819.
9. Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 210212, 261; Shultz, Turmoil, 258261; Michael
A. Learner and William Cook, Star Wars: Will Space be the Next Battleground,
Newsweek (April 4, 1983): 1622; Isaacson, Reagan for Defense, 819.
10. Shultz, Turmoil, 249256; Dobrynin, In Confidence, 528530; also see, Peter J.
Westwick, Space-Strike Weapons and the Soviet Response to SDI, Diplomatic
History 32:5 (2008): 955979 for another view.
11. Strobe Talbott, Deadly Gambits: The Reagan Administrations and the Stalemate
in Arms Control (New York: Knopf, 1984): 305313; Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue,
12. Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 243245; Edward Reiss, The Strategic Defense Initiative (Cambridge, G.B.: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 7376, 198.
13. Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 250251.
14. Ibid., 251252, 243 for Weinberger quote; Reiss, Strategic Defense, 5354 for
Keyworth quote.



15. Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 252255; Reiss, Strategic Defense, 7678, 198 for
Hoffman panel members.
16. Douglas C. Waller, James T. Bruce III, and Douglas M. Cook, The Strategic
Defense Initiative: Progress and Challenge (Claremont, CA: Regina Books, 1987), 717,
17. Walter Isaacson, Reagan for Defense, Time (Apr. 4, 1983): 819; Fitzgerald,
Out in the Blue, 210212.
18. Waller, et al., Defense Initiative, 1923.
19. Paul H. Nitze, with Ann M. Smith and Steven L. Rearden, From Hiroshima to
Glasnost: At the Center of Decision (New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1989), 406408.
20. Reagan, Presidential Documents, Mar. 30, 1987, p. 290; Caspar Weinberger,
Why Offense Needs Defense, Foreign Policy (Fall 1987): 17.
21. Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 244245; 489; Tim Weiner, Lies and Rigged Star
Wars Test Fooled the Kremlin and Congress, New York Times (Aug. 18, 1993): A-1,
15; Weiner, Star Wars Tried Plan to Exaggerate Test Results, New York Times
( July 23, 1994): A-1, 26.
22. Waller, et al., Defense Initiative, 717, 4041, 4951, 5164.
23. Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 388 for Weinberger quote.
24. Ibid., 377380, 402407; Waller, et al., Defense Initiative, 100104; William J.
Crowe, The Line of Fire From Washington to the Gulf the Politics and Battles of the New
Military (New York: Simon & Shuster, 1993), 301309.
25. Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 290291, 296299; Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph,
580582; also see Raymond Garthoff, Policy versus the Law: The Reinterpretation of
the ABM Treaty (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1987).
26. Matthew Bunn, Foundation for the Future: The ABM Treaty and National Security (Washington, DC: The Arms Control Association, 1990), 60; Garthoff, Transition, 239248; Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 294298.
27. Fitzgerald, The Poseurs of Missile Defense. New York Times, June 4, 2000,
Sec. 4, p. 19.
28. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 252267, 285289; Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue,
332340, 347329; Shultz, Turmoil, 751753; see also Mikhail Gorbachev, Reykjavik:
Results and Lessons (Madison, CT: Sphinx Press, 1987).
29. Andrei Sakarov, Moscow and Beyond (New York: Knopf, 1991): 2142; Talbott, Master of the Game, 306.
30. Reiss, Strategic Defense, 126136.
31. Ibid., 134135.
32. Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 466478. Examples of books that created a dubious legend about Reagan achieving more to end the cold war than either Gorbachev or Bush include Don Oberdorfer, The Turn: From the Cold War to a New
Era (New York: Poseidon Press, 1991), 327; Dusko Doder and Louise Branscom,
Gorbachev (New York: Viking Press, 1990), 371372; and Robert Hutchins, American
Diplomacy and the End of the Cold War (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1997), 327;
Robert M. Gates, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insiders Story of Five Presidents and
How They Won the Cold War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996).
33. George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed (New York: Alfred
Knopf: 1998), 564565.
34. Garthoff, The Great Transition, 380388; Shultz, Turmoil, 1137; James A.
Baker, III, The Politics of Politics of Diplomacy (New York: G. P. Putnam, 1995):



35. Michael Beschloss and Strobe Talbott, At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story
of the End of the Cold War (Boston: Little, Brown: 1993), 4748; for SDI contractors
see Reiss, The Strategic Defense Initiative, 97.
36. Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 480484; William J. Broad, Tellers War (New
York: Simon and Schuster, 1992), 251255.
37. Bradley Graham, Hit to Kill: The New Battle Over Shielding America from Missile Attack (New York: Public Affairs, 2001), 1823.
38. Donald R. Baucom, The Case of Patriots Anti-Tactical Ballistic Missile Capability, Air Power History (Spring 1992): 312; Robert M. Stein, Patriot ATBM
Experience in the Gulf War, International Security 17 (Summer 1992): 199240;
Wayne Biddle, The Untold Story of the Patriot, Discover 12 ( June 1991): 7179.
39. Lester H. Brune, The United States and the Iraqi Crisis, 19901992 (Claremont,
CA: Regina Books, 1993): 174175; Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 485488.
40. Brune, Iraqi Crisis, 175177; Theodore Postol, Lessons from the Gulf Wars
Experience with the Patriot, International Security 16 (Winter 19911992): 119171;
Postol and Robert M. Stein, ibid. 17 (Summer 1992): 199240. A 1992 GAO report
claimed that 158 Patriots were fired at 47 Scuds with no more than 4 possible hits.
41. John Conyers, Jr., The Patriot Myth: Caveat Emptor, Arms Control Today
(Nov. 1992): 310; and Conyers and Frank Horton, The Patriot Debate: Part 2,
Arms Control Today ( Jan./Feb. 1993): 2629. Also see, Seymour Hersh, Missile
Wars, New Yorker (Sept. 1994): 8699; John A. Farrell, The Patriot Gulf Missile
Didnt Work Defense Secretary Cohen Speaks Out, The Boston Globe ( Jan. 13,
2001): A1.
42. Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 484487.
43. Conyers committee data is in House Committee on Government Legislation and National Security, May 16 and October 1, 1991, Strategic Defense Initiative:
What Are the Costs? What Are the Threats? (Washington, DC: GPO, 1992), includes
statement of John Pike, Chicken Little and Darth Vardar: Is the Sky Falling?;
John Wilson Lewis and Hau Ai, Chinas Ballistic Missile Programs: Technology, Strategies, Goals, International Security (Fall 1992): 540, includes table that
lists all of Chinas ballistic missiles by designation, range, payload, and technical
44. Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 374389; 485488.
45. Ibid., 488490.
46. Graham, Hit to Kill, 2122; Bush and Scowcroft, World Transformed,

1. Frances Fitzgerald, Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars and the End
of the Cold War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000), 490492; Bradley Grahams,
Hit to Kill: The New Battle Over Shielding America from Nuclear Attack (New York:
Public Affairs, 2001), 2125; Graham provides a comprehensive account of the
Clinton years.
2. Contract with America: The Bold Plan by Rep. Newt Gingrich, Rep. Dick Armey
and the House Republicans to Change the Nation, edited by Ed Gillespie and Bob
Schellhas (New York: Times Books, 1994), 93, 107, 112.
3. Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 492493; Graham, Hit to Kill, 2427.



4. William J. Hyland, Clintons World: Remaking American Foreign Policy (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1999), 145151; Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 493494; Graham, Hit
to Kill, 2628.
5. Reprinted from Harpers Magazine (Sept. 2001): 2526.
6. Graham, Hit to Kill, 3051.
7. Greg Thielmann, Rumsfeld Reprise? The Missile Report That Foretold the
Iraq Intelligence Controversy, Arms Control Today ( July/Aug. 2003): 3.
8. James M. Lindsay and Michael E, OHanlon, Defending America: The Case
for a Limited National Missile Defense (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press,
2001), 6267 and excerpts from the Rumsfeld report on 197217; Thielmann,
Rumsfeld Reprise? 3.
9. Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue, 455, 497499; Graham, Hit to Kill, 5169.
10. Graham, Hit to Kill, 337339; Lindsay and OHanlon, Defending America,
11. Sidney N. Graybeal and Patricia A. McFate, Strategic Defense Arms Control, in Larsen and Rattray, Arms Control, 131136; 28; Strobe Talbott, The Russia Hand (New York: Random House, 2002), 377383; Fitzgerald, Out in the Blue,
494; Sokov, Russian Strategic Modernization, 174175; Lizbeth Grolund, ABM: Just
Kicking the Can, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists ( Jan.Feb. 1998): 1516.
12. Graham, Hit to Kill, 111121; Talbott, Russia Hand, 383385.
13. Graham, Hit to Kill, 154155, see chapter 8; Elizabeth Becker, U.S. Seeks
Missile System Despite Treaty Risk, New York Times (Nov. 6, 2000): A-8; Alexander
Altounian, Why Russia Fears a Missile Defense, WPNW (Aug. 20, 2001): 27; Talbott, Russia Hand, 383397 describes unsuccessful talks in 1999 with Mamedov.
14. Anthony H. Cordesman, Strategic Threats and National Missile Defense: Defending the American Homeland (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002), 62116; Graham, Hit
to Kill, 279283.
15. Stephen W. Young, Pushing the Limits: The Decision on National Missile Defense (Washington, DC: Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers and Council for a
Livable World Education Fund, 2002): 45; for more details see Victoria Samson,
American Missile Defense (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2010), 160184.
16. Graham, Hit to Kill, 181185; James Glanz, Antimissile Test Viewed as
Flawed by Opponents, New York Times ( Jan. 14, 2000): A-1, A-6.
17. Young, Pushing the Limits, 48.
18. Graham, Hit to Kill, 287307; Lindsay and OHanlon, Defending America,
8490; Cordesman, Strategic Threats, 240271; 327329; Philip E. Coyle, Assistant
Secretary of Defense and Director, Operational Test and Evaluation, Operational
Test and Evaluation Report in Support of the National Missile Defense Deployment Readiness Review, Aug. 10, 2000. Know as the Coyle Report and available on the web.
19. Wade Boese, Missile Defense Post-ABM Treaty: No System, No Arms
Race, Arms Control Today ( June 2003): 22.
20. Cordesman, Strategic Threats, 206209; Graham, Hit to Kill, 188189 and
214217; Lindsay and OHanlon, Defending America, 42, 18485, 101103.
21. George W. Bush, Remarks at the National Defense University, May 1,
2001, in John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, The American Presidency Project
[online] at Santa Barbara, CA http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=45568;
Cordesman, Strategic Threats, 176179; Graham, Hit to Kill, 350352; Roger Cohen,
Europes Shifting Role Poses Challenge to U.S. New York Times (Feb. 11, 2001):



A-1, A-5; Wade Boese, U.S., Russia Still Seeking Common Ground on Missile Defense, Arms Control Today (Nov. 2001): 19, 22.
22. On Rumsfeld, see Graham, Hit to Kill, 351.
23. Cordesman, Strategic Threats, 275289; Department of Defense. Record of
Decision to Establish a Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Initial Defensive Operations
Capability at Fort Greely, Alaska, Apr. 18, 2003.
24. Ibid., 179181, 211212; Judith Miller, Bush to Request a Major Increase
in Bio-terrorism, New York Times (Feb. 4, 2002): A-1, 11; John Isaccs, Pebbles and
All, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (Sept.Oct. 2001): 2223.
25. Vernon Loeb, Interceptor Makes a Direct Hit, Washington Post ( July 15,
2001): A-1, A-7; Cordesman, Strategic Threats, 275289; James Dao, Amid Applause, Caution Urged on Missile Defense, New York Times ( July 16, 2001): A-6; Esther Schrader, Tougher Test Delayed For Missile Test, Los Angeles Times (Aug. 16,
2001): A-3. For an assessment of the July 14 test see report of Union of Concerned
Scientists on internet at www.ucsusa.org.
26. Union of Concerned Scientists, Countermeasures, July 2000, at www.uc
susa.org; Cordesman, Strategic Threats, 303306, 312; Graham, Hit to Kill, 366367.
27. Cordesman, Strategic Threats, 307308; Wade Boese, Comment, Arms Control Today (Sept. 2002): 17.
28. Cordesman, Strategic Threats, 8994; James Risen, CIA Chief Sees Russia as
Trying to Revive Its Challenge to U.S. New York Times (Feb. 8, 2001): A-11; Johanna
McGeary, A Salesman on the Road [Putin], Time ( July 30, 2001): 1819; Michael
Wines, North Korea, with Putin, Vows to Curb Missile Program, New York Times
(Aug. 5, 2001): A-6; John Newhouse, The Missile Defense Debate, Foreign Affairs
( JulyAug., 2001): 97110; Graham, Hit to Kill, 355356.
29. Ibid., 368370; Talbott, The Russia Hand, 405406, 413414.
30. Talbott, Russia Hand, 416427.
31. Wade Boese, Pentagon Puts off Missile Defense Testing, Citing ABM
Treaty, Arms Control Today (Nov. 2001): 18, 21; Talbott, Russia Hand, 417418;
David E. Sanger, Bush and Putin Agree to Reduce Stockpile of Nuclear Warheads,
Difference Remains on Missile Defense, New York Times (Nov. 14, 2001): A-1, 10;
Elaine Sciolino, New Allies: One Trusts, the Others Not So Sure, New York Times
(Nov. 14, 2001): A-14.
32. Talbott, Russia Hand, 418420; David E. Sanger and Elizabeth Bumiller, U.S.
To Pull Out of ABM Treaty, New York Times (Dec. 12, 2001): A-1, 14; Sanger, Bush Offers Arms Talks to China as U.S. Pulls Out of ABM Treaty, New York Times (Dec. 14,
2001): A-1, 12; Steven Mufson and Sharon LaFraniere, A Farewell to Arms Control,
WPNW (Dec. 17, 2001): 15; Michael Wines, Moscow Miffed Over Missile Shield
but Others Merely Shrug, New York Times (Dec. 19, 2002): A-15; Katrina Vander
Heuvel and Stephen F. Cohen, Endangering US Security (Russian Policy Is),
The Nation (Apr. 15, 2002): 56.
33. Todd S. Purdum, Powell Says U.S. Plans to Work Out Binding Arms Pact:
Meets Russian Demand, New York Times (Feb. 6, 2002): A-1, 8; Strategic Offensive
Reduction Treaty: Analysis, Commentary, Text, Factfile, Arms Control Today ( June
2002): 323; James Carney, Our New Best Friend [Putin]? Time (May 27, 2002):
4245; Jonathan Schell, The Growing Nuclear Peril, The Nation ( June 24, 2002):
34. Wade Boese, U.S. Withdraws from ABM Treaty; Global Response Muted,
Arms Control Today ( July/Aug. 2002): 1415; Arms Control Today (Mar. 2003): 36;



35. Sheldon Alberts, Liberal Rift Delays Entry to Arms Plan, National Post
(Canada) (May 8, 2002), A1, 9.
36. BMDO link, Missile Defense Test Successful, Dec. 4, 2001, at www.bmdo.
bmdolink; Center for Defense Information, Flight Tests For Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) System, Updated Dec. 22, 2008 by Victoria Samson, www.
37. James Dao, A Setback for Missile Shield as Booster Rocket Fails Test,
New York Times (Dec. 14, 2001): A-6; William J. Broad, U.S. Ignores Failure Data at
Outset of Flights, New York Times (Dec. 18. 2002): A-16; Missile Defense Agency,
Missile Defense Test Conducted, Dec. 11, 2002, at www.acci.osd.mil/bmdolink;
Christopher Marquis, Rocket Intercepts Missile in Test, New York Times (Mar. 16,
2002): A-6.
38. Dao, Navy Missile Defense Plan Cancelled by the Pentagon, New York
Times (Dec. 16, 2001): A-6.
39. Wade Boese, Navy Theater Missile Defense Test Successful, Arms Control
Today (Mar. 2002): 29; Boese, Sea-Based Missile Defense Scores Second Straight
Hit, Arms Control Today ( JulyAug. 2002): 19; Union of Concerned Scientists, An
Analysis of the 25 January Test of the Aegis-LEAP Intercept for the Navy Theater
Wide, www.uscusa.org.
40. BMDO, Sea-Based Midcourse Flight Test Successful, June 13, 2002,
at www.bmdo.bmdolink; Third Sea-Based Missile Intercept Succeeds, Arms
Control Today (Dec. 2002): 27; Wade Boese, Missile Defense Systems Not Ready
for Action, Pentagon Says, Arms Control Today (Mar. 2003): 25; Boese, SeaBased Missile Defense System Misses Target, Arms Control Today ( July/Aug.
2003): 25.
41. Wade Boese, PAC-3 Production to Continue Despite Program Shortcomings, Arms Control Today ( JulyAug. 2002): 18.
42. Paul Richter, In Event of War, Patriots Wont Be on Front Line, Los Angeles Times (Nov. 2, 2002): A-5; Wade Boese, Patriot Scorecard Mixed; PAC-3 Use
Limited, Arms Control Today (May 2003): 33; Charles Piller, Vaunted Patriot Missile Has a Friendly Fire failing, Los Angeles Times (April 21, 2003): A1, 11; Wade
Boese, Army Report Details Patriot Record in Iraq War, Arms Control Today
(Nov. 2003): 3031; also see, Samson, American Missile Defense, 98110.
43. Michael A. Gordon, U.S. Sends 600 Troops and Antimissile System to Defend Israel if Iraq Attacks, New York Times ( Jan. 16, 2003): A-10; Israel Tests an
Anti-Scud Missile System, Los Angeles Times ( Jan. 6, 2003): A-9.
44. U.S. Air Force News Release, Airborne Laser Completes First Flight,
( July 18, 2002) at www.acqosd.mil/bmdo/bmdolink/html/.
45. Wade Boese, ABL Flies, but Government Agency Warns Sky Is Not Clear,
Arms Control Today (Sept. 2002): 17.
46. Geoffrey Forden, Laser Defense: What if They Work? Bulletin of the Atomic
Scientists (Sept./Oct. 2002): 4953.
47. Statement Announcing a National Missile Defense Initiative, Dec. 17,
2002, in John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, The American Presidency Project [online] at Santa Barbara, CA http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid; Maura
Reynolds, Bush: Missile Defense by 2004, Los Angeles Times (Dec. 18, 2002): A-1,
A-36-37; Wade Boese, Bush to Deploy Modest Missile Defense in 2004, Arms
Control Today ( Jan.Feb. 2003): 18, 29; Boese, Missile Defense Post-ABM Treaty:
No System, Nor Arms Race, Arms Control Today ( June 2003): 21.



48. Maura Reynolds, Missile Plan Faces Obstacles, Los Angeles Times (Dec. 24,
2002): A-1ff; Eric Schmitt, Bush Ordering Limited Missile Shield, New York Times
(Dec 18, 2002): A-1, A-16.
49. Esther Schrader, Missile Defense Waiver Sought, Los Angeles Times (Feb. 24,
2003): A-1, 13.
50. Paul Richter, Missile Data to Be Kept Secret, Los Angeles Times ( June 9,
2002): A-1ff.

1. Embassy of the United States, Prague, Czech Republic, Frequently Asked
Questions on Missile Defense: Q: Havent negotiations been taking place for years?
A: The U.S. has been exploring options for a missile defense system in Europe
since 2002. http://prague.usembassy.gov/md_faq.2html, updated Feb. 11, 2008.
2. GAO-09-771, Ballistic Missile Defense: Actions Needed to Improve Planning and Information on Construction and Support Costs for Proposed European
Sites, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Accountability Office, Aug. 2009,
3. National Security Presidential Directive 23, National Policy on Ballistic Missile Defense, Washington, DC, Dec. 16, 2002.
4. CRS Report for Congress, RL31111, Missile Defense the Current Debate,
Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Updated Mar. 23, 2005.
5. Joint Declaration, May 24, 2002. See ACQWeb, Office of the Undersecretary
of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, Treaty Compliance, Moscow Treaty, www.dod.mil/acq/acic/treaties/sort/sort_jd.htm last retrieved online on October 14, 2009.
6. Wade Boese, NATO, Russia Hold Joint Missile Defense Exercise, Arms
Control Today (Apr. 2004): 36; Thomas R. Marino Jr., CORPS SAM: Down Selection
to One Contractor VS. Competition, Thesis, Monterey, CA: Naval Postgraduate
School, Dec. 1995; for more details about MEADS, see Victoria Samson, American
Missile Defense (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2010), 110117.
7. DOT&E FY-98 Annual Report, Director, Operational Test and Evaluation,
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Defense, Feb. 1999.
8. Federal News Service Transcript, Hearing of the Senate Armed Services
Committee, Missile Defense and the Fy2005 DOD Budget, Washington, DC: GPO,
Mar. 11, 2004.
9. Wade Boese, U.S. Eyes Missile Defense Site in Europe, Arms Control Today
( Jul.Aug. 2004): 39.
10. Hearing, Missile Defense and the Fy2005 DOD Budget; GA0-09-771.
11. MDA Plans to Tap Boeing for European GBI Work, Defense Daily, Dec. 5,
12. Robert M. Gates, A Better Missile Defense for a Safer Europe, New York
Times, Sept. 19, 2009.
13. The Russian Information Agency, RIA Novosti, December 14, 2006; Wade
Boese, U.S. Europe Anti-Missile Plans Upset Russia, Arms Control Today
(Mar. 2007): 4748.
14. Oliver Meier, Europeans Split Over U.S. Missile Defense Plans, Arms
Control Today (Apr. 2007): 3638.



15. Identical letters from Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, and Secretary
Condoleezza Rice, to the Honorable Richard B. Cheney, President of the Senate, and the Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives,
May 21, 2007.
16. Matthew Lee, Rice: Russias Softening on Missile Defense Wont Alter US
Plans, USA Today, June 8, 2007.
17. Putin Expands on his Missile Defense Plan, New York Times, July 3, 2007;
Putin Proposes Broader Cooperation on Missile Defense, Washington Post, July 3,
2007; Russian Experts to Visit Missile Defense Base in Alaska, RIA Novosti,
Aug. 1, 2007.
18. RIA Novosti, Oct. 26, 2007.
19. Long Range Ballistic Missile Defenses in Europe, RL-34051, Congressional
Research Service, updated July 15, 2007.
20. Ibid.
21. Ibid.
22. Bucharest Summit: US Missile Defense Bases Continue to Divide NATO,
Disarmament Diplomacy, Issue No. 87, Spring 2008.
23. Press release: Lech Kaczynski, Obama Statement on Visit of Polish
President, July 16, 2007. See: http://obama.senate.gov/press/070716-obama_
24. Conference Report, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year
2008; HR 3222; Public Law 110116.
25. Anna Smolchenko and Nikolaus von Twickel, Bushs Letter Puts Putin in a
Good Mood, Moscow Times, Mar. 18, 2008, see Johnsons Russia List #9-2008-58.
26. Fred W. Baker, III, Putin Hints at Progress in Talks with Rice, Gates, American Forces Press Services, Moscow, Mar. 17, 2008.
27. Thom Shanker, To Placate Moscow, U.S. Would Keep Missile-Defense System Off for Now, New York Times, Mar. 17, 2008.
28. Harry de Quetteville and Andrew Pierce, Russia Threatens Nuclear Attack
On Poland Over US Missile Shield Deal, London Daily Telegraph, Aug. 16, 2008.
29. Wade Boese, U.S. Edges Closer to Europe Anti-Missile Deals, Arms Control Today (Apr. 2008): 31.
30. U.S. Missile Chief Concerned by Delays to Polish Base Accord, Armed
Forces Press, Oct. 30, 2008.
31. Czech Govt Wants Vote on Missile Shield after US Election, Armed Forces
Press, Oct. 29, 2008; U.S. Missile Defense Agency, FY-2008 Budget Estimates, Overview, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Defense, Jan. 31, 2007, p. 5.
32. Public Law 110329. H.R. 2638, Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance
and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009.
33. See Obama Transition Team Web site: www.change.gov.

1. Bong-Geun Jun, Recurring North Korean Nuclear Crises, Arms Control
Today ( Jan./Feb. 2006): 8; see also Marion Creekmore, Jr., A Moment of Crisis: Jimmy
Carter, the Power of a Peacemaker, and North Koreas Nuclear Ambitions (New York:
Public Affairs, 2006) for insight in the negotiations with North Korea.



2. See Jenny Shin, Chronology of North Koreas Missile Flight Tests, Center for
Defense Information, July 13,2009, www.cdi.org/pdfs/NKmissiletimeline5.26.09.
3. Ibid.; Bradley Graham, Hit to Kill: The New Battle Over Shielding America from
Nuclear Attack (New York: Public Affairs, 2001), 3051; James M. Lindsay and Michael E. OHanlon, Defending America: The Case for a Limited National Missile Defense
(Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2001), 197217.
4. Greg Thielmann, Rumsfeld Reprise? The Missile Report That Foretold the
Iraq Intelligence Controversy, Arms Control Today ( July/Aug. 3002): 3; Lindsay
and OHanlon, Defending America, 6267 with excerpts from the Rumsfeld report
on 197217.
5. Shin, Chronology of North Koreas Missile Flight Tests.
6. Ibid.; Anthony H. Cordesman, Strategic Threats and National Missile Defense:
Defending the American Homeland (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002), 122144; Leon V.
Sigal, North Korea is No Iraq, Arms Control Today (Dec. 2002): 812; Victor D.
Cha, Koreas Place in the Axis, Foreign Affairs (MayJune 2002): 7992; Los Angeles Times, Jan. 12, 2003.
7. See review of J. Peter Scoblics U.S. vs. Them: How a Half Century of Conservatism Has Undermined American Security (Viking, 2008) in Arms Control Today
( June 2008): 4345.
8. James T. Laney and Jason T. Shalen, How to Deal with North Korea,
Foreign Affairs (Mar./Apr. 2003): 1630; Paul Kerr, U.S. Courts Allies to Contain North Korea, Talks Lag, Arms Control Today ( July/Aug. 2003); 2324; Glenn
Kessler, A Shifting Script: The Bush Administration Is Split as New Talks Near
on North Korea, Washington Post National Weekly (Dec. 1521, 2003): 1718;
Chronology: The North Korean Nuclear Crisis, 20022006, Arms Control Today
(Nov. 2006): 2729
9. Chronology: The North Korean Nuclear Crisis, 20022006; see also Shin,
Chronology of North Koreas Missile Flight Tests; U.N. Resolution in Arms Control Today (Nov. 2006): 30; on the North Korean nuclear test, see articles in USA
Today, Oct. 10, 2006, 5A, 8A Peter Spiegel, North Koreas Strike Range Cast in
Doubt, Los Angeles Times, Sept. 23, 2006, A-4.
10. Chronology: The North Korean Nuclear Crisis, 20022006; see also Shin,
Chronology of North Koreas Missile Flight Tests; John M. Glionna, North
Korea Launches Rocket, Los Angeles Times, Apr. 5, 2009, A-1, A-24; Julian E. Barnes
and Greg Miller, North Shows Progress in Its Missile Technology, Los Angeles
Times, Apr. 6, 2009, A-5; on second nuclear test, see Daryl G. Kimball, Testing the
Worlds Patience, Arms Control Today ( June 2009): 3.
11. Jenny Shin, The Concern with South Koreas Missile Defense System,
Center for Defense Information (Aug. 25, 2009): 2; Wade Boese, Japan Seeks Missile
Defense Interceptors, Arms Control Today ( June 2004): 35; for the 1998 North Korean missile test, see Arms Control Today (Aug./Sept. 1998).
12. Missile Defense Protection for Tokyo Reaches Completion, New York
Times, March 29, 2008; Japan Performs Successful Missile Defense Intercept at
White Sands Missile Range, Las Cruces Sun-News, Sept. 28, 2008; Science Letter,
Sept. 30, 2008; The Japan Times, Sept. 19, 2008.
13. Wade Boese, Japan Embracing Missile Defense, Arms Control Today (Apr.
2006): 36; Boese, More States Step Up Anti-Missile Work, Arms Control Today
( Jan./Feb. 2008): 51; see also Michael D. Swaine, et al. Japan and Missile Defense
(Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2001) and Patrick M. ODonogue, Theater Missile



Defense in Japan. . . . U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, Sept.
14. Hajime Izumi and Katsuhisa Furukawa, Not Going Nuclear: Japans Response to North Koreas Nuclear Test, Arms Control Today ( June 2007): 611; also
see Llewelyn Hughes, Why Japan Will Not Go Nuclear (Yet): International and
Domestic Constraints on the Nuclearization of Japan, International Security 31:4
(Spring 2007), 6796.
15. Shin, The Concern with South Koreas Missile Defense System, 34; The
Korea Times, Sept. 16, 2008.
16. Linda D. Kozaryn, Taiwan, Missile Defense Top Cohens China Talks,
American Forces Press Service, July 12, 2000, www.defenselink.mil/news/news
article.aspx?id=45327; China Concerned by Missile Defense Plan, New York
Times (Dec. 19, 2002): A-15; Jeffrey Lewis, Nuclear Numerology Chinese Style,
Arms Control Today (March 2005): 48.
17. Joanne Tompkins, How U.S. Strategic Policy Is Changing Chinas Nuclear
Plans, Arms Control Today ( Jan.Feb. 2003): 1115; Cordesman, Strategic Threats,
94112; see also Hans M. Kistensen, et al. Chinese Nuclear Forces and U.S. Nuclear War Planning, Washington, DC: Federation of American Scientists/Natural
Resources Defense Council, Nov. 2006.
18. Wade Boese, Taiwan Buys U.S. Arms; U.S. Eyes China, Arms Control Today
( JulyAug. 2007): 4344; Scarlet Kim, Chinese Proud, Defensive About ASAT
Test, Arms Control Today (Mar. 2007): 29; Peter Crail, Chinese Report Discusses
Nuclear Planning, Arms Control Today (Mar. 2009): 50
19. Brian Ellison, Chinese Nuclear Arsenal, Center for Defense Information,
Jan. 21, 2009, see www.cdi.org; Christopher P. Twomey. Chinese-U.S. Strategic Affairs: Dangerous Dynamism, Arms Control Today ( Jan./Feb. 2009): 1719; China
Unveils Anti-Missile Test After Taiwan Sale, Reuters, Jan. 12, 2010.
20. Ballistic Missile Defense Key to Defending Taiwan, United Press International, June 12, 2006, www.spacewar.com; also see Wei-Chin Lee, Thunder in
the Air: Taiwan and Theater Missile Defense, Nonproliferation Review (Fall 2001);
David Isenberg, China: The Case for Missile Defense, Asia Times, July 24, 2003 on
line at www.atimes.com/atimes/China/EGe4Ad02.
21. John Tkacik, On Taiwan: Pricing Taiwans Missile Defense, Taipei Times,
Dec. 6, 2008, www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2008/12/06/2003
430467; William Lowther, Taiwans Missile Defense Set for Upgrade, Taipei Times,
Sept. 3, 2009, ibid /2003452657.
22. Ashley J. Tellis, The Evolution of U.S.-Indian Ties: Missile Defense in an
Emerging Strategic Relationship, International Security 30:4 (Spring 2006): 113
151; Martin Sieff, A Giant Leap Forward For Indian Missile Defense, www.space
Wade Boese, More States Step Up Anti-Missile Work, Arms Control Today ( Jan./
Feb. 2008): 5152; Todd Fine, Missile Defense: A Wrong Turn for U.S.-India Cooperation? Center for Defense Information, March 5, 2008.
23. See Bharath Bopalaswamy, Missile Defense in India, Bulletin of the Atomic
Scientists, Feb. 27, 2009.
24. Ali Chaudhry, Irans Ambitious Missile Programs, and Irans Missile
Flight Tests, Center for Defense Information, July 1, 2004 on line at ww.cdi.org; Paul
Kerr, Iran, North Korea Deepen Missile Cooperation, Arms Control Today ( Jan./
Feb. 2007): 3839; Peter Crail, Iran Space Launch Raises Missile Concerns, Arms



Control Today (Sept. 2008): 4142. For an up-to-date assessment of Irans missile
program, see Steven A. Hildreth, Irans Ballistic Missile Defense Program: An
Overview, Congressional Research Service RS22758 (Feb.4, 2009); see also Anthony
H. Cordesman and Adam C. Seitz, Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Birth
of a Regional Nuclear Arms Race? (New York: Praeger, 2009); Julian E. Barnes and
Borzou Daragahi, Iran Touts Arms as U.S. Defends Policy, Los Angeles Times,
April 19, 2010, A-6.
25. Edward Reiss, The Strategic Defense Initiative (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
University Press, 1992), 126136; Theodore Postol, Lessons from the Gulf Wars
Experience with the Patriot, International Security 16 (Winter 1992): 192240; John
Conyers, Jr., The Patriot Myth: Caveat Emptor, Arms Control Today (Nov. 1992):
310; see also Richard Dean Burns and Lester H. Brune, The Quest for Missile Defenses, 19442003 (Claremont, CA: Regina Books, 2004), 140143 and Samson, American Missile Defense, 98110.
26. Israel Tests an Anti-Scud Missile System, Los Angeles Times ( Jan. 6, 2003):
27. Michael A. Gordon, U.S. Sends 600 Troops and Antimissile System to Defend Israel if Iraq Attacks, New York Times, Jan. 16, 2003, A-10; Paul Adams, Shock
and Awe: An Inevitable Victory, in Sara Beck and Malcom Downer, eds. Battle for
Iraq: BBC News Correspondents on the War Against Saddam (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), 105107; Paul Richter, In Event of War, Patriots Wont
Be on Front Line, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 2, 2002, A-5; Charles Piller, Vaunted
Patriot Missile Has a Friendly Fire failing, Los Angeles Times, Apr. 21, 2003, A1,
A11; Williamson Murray and Robert H. Scales, Jr., Iraq War: A Military History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), 154156; Wade Boese, Patriot Scorecard Mixed; PAC-3 Use Limited, Arms Control Today (May 2003): 33; Wade Boese,
Army Report Details Patriot Record in Iraq War, Arms Control Today (Nov. 2003):
3031; also see Burns and Brune, The Quest for Missile Defenses, 204205.
28. Wade Boese, Israel Looks to Bolster Arms Capabilities, Arms Control
Today (Oct. 2006): 2829; see Arrow 2 Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence System,
Israel, at www.army-technology.com/projects/arrow2/; Matti Friedman, Israel
Tests System to Shoot Down Iranian Missiles, The Associated Press, Mar. 7, 2009
on Yahoo! News.

1. Philip Coyle, prepared remarks before the House Committee on Armed
Services, Subcommittee on Strategic Force, The Future of Missile Defense Testing, Washington, DC: Feb. 25, 2009, pp. 8, 10; Also see Victoria Samson, American
Missile Defense: A Guide to Issues (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2010) for a valuable
extension of this chapter as Ms. Samson provides much more detail regarding the
various antimissile systems.
2. U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Missile Defense: KnowledgeBased Practices Are Being Adopted, but Risks Remain, GAO-03-441 (Washington, DC:
Apr. 2003), 1.
3. Wade Boese, Missile Defense Goes Stealth, Arms Control Today ( Jan./Feb.
2006): 33; also see GAO, Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs (Washington, DC: GAO-09-326SP, Mar. 2009).



4. Wade Boese, U.S. Missile Defense Capability a Mystery, Arms Control

Today (Apr. 2006): 37.
5. Wade Boese, Top Pentagon Official Says Missile Defense Performance
Questionable Without More Test, Arms Control Today (Mar. 2004): 40; Wade Boese,
Pentagon Split on Missile Defense, Arms Control Today (Apr. 2005): 30.
6. John Hendren, Missile Defense System Fails Test, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 16,
2004, A1, A24; Arms, Not the Missile, Faulted, Los Angeles Times, Feb. 18, 2005,
7. Boese, Pentagon Split on Missile Defense, 30; Wade Boese, Missile Defense Performance Top Concern, Arms Control Today (May 2005): 31.
8. Wade Boese, Ground-Based Interceptor Fails Again, Arms Control Today
(Mar. 2005): 29.
9. Wade Boese, More Testing Urged for Missile Defense, Arms Control Today
( July/Aug. 2005): 28.
10. Boese, U.S. Missile Defense Capability a Mystery, 37.
11. Julian E. Barnes, U.S. Test Missile Hits Mock Target, Los Angeles Times,
Sept. 2, 2006, A1, A25; Wade Boese, Anti-Missile System Scores Test Hit, Arms
Control Today (Oct. 2006): 31.
12. Wade Boese, Missile Defense Five Years After the ABM Treaty, Arms Control Today ( June 2007): 31.
13. Wade Boese, Missile Defense Under Scrutiny, Arms Control Today ( Jan./
Feb. 2007): 35.
14. U.S. Missile Defense Agency, FY-2008 Budget Estimates, Overview, (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Defense, Jan. 31, 2007): 5.
15. Wade Boese, Pentagon Repeats Missile Defense Test Success, Arms Control Today (Nov. 2007): 3435.
16. Wade Boese, Missile Defense Role Questioned, Arms Control Today ( July/
Aug. 2008): 4344.
17. Ibid.
18. Wade Boese, Reports Fault U.S. Anti-Missile Approach, Arms Control
Today (Nov. 2008): 4445.
19. Viola Gienger, Gates Says U.S. Could Repel North Korean Missile,
Bloomberg, June 1, 2009; U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, Hearing to Receive Testimony in Review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2010 and
the Future Years Defense Program, Washington, DC: GPO, May 14, 2009.
20. Ronald ORourke, Sea-Based Ballistic Missile DefenseBackground and Issues for Congress (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Oct. 22, 2009),
25, 22.
21. Ibid.
22. Ibid., 1, 6162.
23. GAO, Missile Defense: THAAD Restructure Addresses Problems But Limits
Early Capability (Washington, DC: GAO/NSIAD-99-142, June 1999), 13.
24. GAO, Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs (Washington, DC: GAO-08-467SP, Mar. 2008), 163164; GAO, Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected Weapon Programs (Washington, DC: GAO-09-326SP, Mar. 2009),
5556; see www.army-technology.com/projects/thaad/ and www.lockheedmar
tin.com for additional information.
25. Wade Boese, Anti-Missile Test Shelved by Technical Glitch, Arms Control
Today ( June 2008): 41.



26. GAO, Missile Defense: Knowledge-Based Decision Making Needed To Reduce

Risks in Developing Airborne Laser, GAO-02-631 (Washington, DC: July 12, 2002),
27. Ibid., 4, 6.
28. See GAO, Airborne Laser Costs and Military Utility, GAO-04-643R (Washington, DC: rev. May 3, 2004).
29. GAO, Missile Defense: Actions Needed to Improve Information for Supporting
Future Key Decisions for Boost and Ascent Phase Elements, GAO-07-430 (Washington,
DC: Apr. 2007), 13.
30. GAO, Defense Acquisitions: Assessment of Selected Weapon Programs, GAO07-406SP, GAO-08-467SP, GAO-09-326SP (Washington, DC: Mar. 2007, 2008,
2009), 2223, 36, 4344.
31. Senate Appropriations Committees Report, S. Rept. 110155, Sept. 14, 2007
on the FY2008 defense appropriations bill (H.R. 3222), 268.
32. Bradley Graham, Hit to Kill: The New Battle Over Shielding America from Missile Attack (New York: Public Affairs, 2001), 181185; James Glanz, Antimissile
Test Viewed as Flawed by Opponents, New York Times, Jan. 14, 2000, A-1ff.
33. Richard F. Kaufman, ed. The Full Costs of Ballistic Missile Defense (Washington, DC: Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Economists Allied
for Arms Reduction, Jan. 2003) see at www.ecaar.org; Richard Dean Burns and
Lester H. Brune, The Quest for Missile Defenses, 19442003 (Claremont, CA: Regina
Books, 2004), 221224; GAO, Missile Defense: Actions Needed to Improve Planning
and Cost Estimates for Long-Term Support of Ballistic Missile Defense, GAO-08-1068
(Washington, DC: Sept. 2008); GAO, Defense Acquisitions: Assessments of Selected
Weapon Programs, GAO-09-326SP (Washington, DC: Mar. 2009).

1. See Public law 11047, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal
2009, Section 234.
2. Jim Wolf, U.S. missile defense said to face near $2 billion cut, Reuters,
Feb. 13, 2009; Office of Management and Budget, Terminations, Reductions, and
Savings, Budget of the U.S. Government Fiscal Year 2010, Washington DC.
3. Frank Oliveri, GOP Provision Aided Obama Missile Plan, CQ Today Print
Edition, Oct. 2, 2009.
4. Fiscal Year 2010 Department of Defense Budget Overview for the Missile
Defense Agency, May 7, 2009.
5. U.S. Congress, Hearing, House Armed Services Committee, Washington,
DC, May 13, 2009.
6. U.S. Congress, Hearing, House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, May 20, 2009.
7. Ibid.
8. U.S. Congress, Hearing, Senate Armed Services Committee, Washington,
DC, May 14, 2009.
9. Missile Defense Agency, Briefing, Jan. 28, 2009, Approved for Public Release
09-MDA-4234 ( Jan. 23, 2009).
10. See Laura Rosen, U.S. missile-defense policy under review, Foreign Policy,
The Cable, Mar. 3, 2009.



11. See Reuters, Mar. 17, 2009.

12. The White House, Fact Sheet on U.S. Missile Defense PolicyA Phased,
Adaptive Approach for Missile Defense in Europe, Sept. 17, 2009.
13. Frank Oliveri, GOP Provision Aided Obama Missile Plan, CQ Today Print
Edition, Oct. 2, 2009.
14. Julian E. Barnes, Defenses Go Up Outside Iran, Los Angeles Times, Jan. 31,
2010, A1ff; also see Nathan Hodge, Petraeus: Missile-Shooting Ships on Station
in the Gulf, www.wired.com, January 22, 2010. For transcript see Institute for
the Study of War website: http://www.understandingwar.org/press-media/
15. Turkey Opposed to U.S. Missile Defense Deployment, RIA Novosti, Dec. 16,
16. Poll Says 80% of Czechs Hail Cancellation of U.S. Radar Plans, RIA Novosti, Dec. 1, 2009.
17. See for example, David Jackson and Ken Dilanian, Obama Scraps Bush
Missile-Defense Plan, USA Today, Sept., 17, 2009.
18. The Pentagon, Transcript, DOD News Briefing with Secretary Gates and
Vice Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartright, Sept. 17, 2009. http://
19. Philip Pan, A Cautious Russia Praises Decision, Washington Post, Sept. 18,
2009, 7ff.
20. Vladimir Isachenkov, Putin Urges US to Share Missile Defense Data, Associated Press, Dec. 29, 2009.
21. U.S. State Department Web site, Dec. 11, 2009, http://www.state.gov/r/
pa/prs/ps/2009/dec/133470.htm; US, Poland sign deal on stationing US
Troops, Associated Press, Worldstream, Dec. 11, 2009; John Vandiver, US Forces
to Train Poles on Air Defense, Stars and Stripes, European edition, Dec. 21,
22. Poland Says Basing Patriot Missiles Nearer Russia Not Political, RIA Novosti, Jan. 21, 2010; Missiles Threaten Nuclear Pact, Patriots Will Be Deployed
Near Russia, Washington Times, Jan. 21, 2010; US To Deploy Defensive Missiles
on Russias Doorstep, Agence France Presse, Jan. 20, 2010.
23. Luke Harding, Russia Scraps Plan to Deploy Nuclear-capable Missiles in
Kaliningrad, World News, The Guardian, Jan. 28, 2009.
24. See Riki Ellison, Friend or Foe, www.missiledefenseadvocacy.org, Jan. 22,
2010; Poland Approves Revised US Missile Shield Agreement, Agence France
Presse, Mar. 2, 2010; Poland Agrees to Host U.S. Anti-Missile Interceptors, Global
Insight, Mar. 4, 2010.
25. Romania to Host US Missile Interceptors, Washington Post, Feb. 4, 2010;
Tom Z. Collina, U.S. Taps Romania for Missile Defense, Arms Control Today
(March 2010): 4446.
26. Valentina Pop, Russia in Stand-by Mode over US Missiles Plans in Romania, EUobserver.com, Feb. 8, 2010.
27. Czechs in Talks to Host Missile Command Center, The Prague Post,
Feb. 11, 2010.
28. Russia Worried by US Missile Defense Plan, Agence France Presse, Feb. 26,
29. Bulgaria to Talk with U.S. about Missile Defense, Global Security Newswire, Feb. 16, 2010.



30. China Said to Close Gap with U.S. Missile Defense in Monday Test, Global
Security Newswire, Jan. 10, 2010; Pentagon Received No Warning of Chinese Missile Defense Test, Global Security Newswire, Jan. 12, 2010.
31. Andrew Jacobs and Jonathan Ansfield, Chinas Missile Test Is Said to Signal Displeasure with U.S., New York Times, Jan. 13, 2010.
32. Indias Anti-Ballistic Missile Defence Programme Is Ahead of China,
indiadaily.com, Feb. 11, 2010; We Are Ahead of Chinese in Missile Programme,
The Hindu, Feb. 11, 2009.
33. The White House, Fact SheetU.S. Missile Defense Policy A Phased,
Adaptive Approach for Missile Defense in Europe, Washington, DC, Sept. 17,
34. George Jahn, Iran Moves Closer to Nuke Warhead Capability, Associated
Press, Feb. 8, 2010; Borzou Daragahi and Julian E. Barnes, Iran Plans 10 Nuclear
Facilities, Los Angeles Times, Feb. 9, 2010, A-1ff
35. Amy Butler, MDA Analyzing Test Beam Misalignment, Aviation Week,
Feb. 22, 2010; Feds not Interested in Boeings Airborne Laser, www.dailyherald.
com, Feb. 18, 2010; Air Force Chief of Staff: Airborne Laser not Operationally
Viable, Inside Missile Defense, Feb. 24, 2010.
36. Todd Harrison, Few Surprises in the 2011 Defense Budget Request, The
Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, CSBA Update, Feb. 1, 2010.
37. Robert M. Gates, A Better Missile Defense for a Safer Europe, The New
York Times, Op Ed, Sept. 19, 2009.
38. David Sanger and Willian Broad, New Missile Shield Strategy Scales Back
Reagans Vision, The New York Times, Sept. 17, 2009.
39. See White House Web site, www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/
40. GAO, Missile Defense Transition Provides Opportunity to Strengthen Acquisition Approach, Washington, DC: GAO-10-311, Feb. 2010.
41. Kevin Baron, Once-Divisive U.S. Missile Defense System Now Widely Accepted, Stars and Stripes, Mar. 25, 2010.

1. A challenge to the effectiveness of the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) was reported by the New York Times, May 17, 2010, which drew on an article appearing
in the May issue of Arms Control Today. The Missile Defense Agency promptly,
and with considerable success, rebutted the New York Times report. See MDA
press release, Missile Defense Agency Responds to New York Times Article,
May 18, 2010.
2. Dennis M. Gormley, Winning on Ballistic Missiles but Losing on Cruise:
The Missile Proliferation Battle, Arms Control Today (Dec. 2008): 2728.
3. Paul Richter, U.S. and Russia to Cut Nuclear Arsenals, Los Angeles Times,
Mar. 25, 2010, A-1ff; Paul Richter and Christi Parsons, U.S. Russia Sign Pact to Cut
Arsenals, Los Angeles Times, Apr. 9, 2010, A-1ff; Tom Z. Collina, New START
to Be Signed April 8, Arms Control Today (April 2010), 29; see also Senate Foreign Relations Committee Request for Information, at http://lugar.senate.gov/

Selected References

Note on Sources: For valuable sources dealing with the period since 2002,
check the Notes chapter, especially for government documents that are
too numerous to be cited individually here. These include such sources
as the very useful Government Accounting Office reports, Congressional Research Reports, and congressional hearings, most of which may be
found on line. There are Several other Web sites, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists at www.ucsusa.org., provide useful information. Useful
monthly updates may be found in Arms Control Today, which also has an
online service.
The Aspen Study Group. Key Issues in American Security: Anti-Satellite Weapons and
U.S. Military Space Policy. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1985.
Baucom, Donald R. The Origins of SDI, 19441983. Lawrence: University Press of
Kansas, 1992.
Broad, William J. Star Warriors: A Penetrating Look into the Lives of the Young Scientists Behind Our Space Age Weaponry. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985.
Bundy, McGeorge. Danger and Survival. New York: Random House, 1988.
Burns, Richard Dean, and Lester H. Brune. The Quest for Missile Defenses, 1944
2003. Claremont, CA: Regina Books, 2003.
Carter, Ashton B., and David N. Schwartz, eds. Ballistic Missile Defense. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1984.
Cimbala, Stephen J. Deterrence and Friction: Implications for Missile Defense.
Defense & Security Analysis 18:3 (Sept. 2002): 201220.


Selected References

Denoon, David B. H. Ballistic Missile Defense in the Post-Cold War Era. Boulder, CO:
Westview, 1995.
Flax, Alexander. Ballistic Missile Defense: Concepts and History. Daedalus 114
(Spring 1985): 3352.
Franck, Raymond E. Jr., and Francois Melese. The Access Deterrence Scenario:
A New Approach to Assessing National Missile Defenses. Defense & Security Analysis 18:3 (Sept. 2002): 227238.
Kaufman, Richard F., ed. The Full Costs of Ballistic Missile Defense. Washington, DC:
Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Economists Allied for
Arms Control, 2003.
Lebovic, James H. The Law of Small Numbers: Deterrence and National Missile
Defense. Journal of Conflict Resolution 46:4 (Aug. 2002): 455483.
Mathers, Jennifer G. The Russian Nuclear Shield From Stalin to Yeltsin. New York:
St. Martins, 2000. (useful bibliography)
Podvig, Pavel, ed. Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press,
Pratt, Erik K. Selling Strategic Defense: Interests, Ideologies, and the Arms Race. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1990. (good on groups pressing for ballistic missile
Samson, Victoria. American Missile Defense : A Guide to the Issues. Santa Barbara,
CA: Praeger, 2010.
Stares, Paul B. Space and National Security. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution
Press, 1987.
Wirtz, James J., and Jeffrey A. Larsen, eds. Rockets Red Glare: Missile Defenses and
World Politics. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2002. (favorable arguments for a
NMD system; a useful primer)
Young, Stephen W. Pushing the Limits: The Decision on National Missile Defense.
Washington, DC: Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers and Council for a
Livable World Education Fund, 2000.
Zaloga, Steven J. The Kremlins Nuclear Sword: The Rise and Fall of Russias Strategic
Nuclear Forces, 19452000. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press,


Adams, Benson D. Ballistic Missile Defense. New York: American Elsevier, 1971.
Chayes, Abram, and Jerome B. Wiesner, eds. ABM: An Evaluation of the Decision to
Deploy an Antiballistic Missile System. New York: Harper & Row, 1969. (the
first Ballistic Missile Defense controversy)
Halperin, Morton H. The Decision to Deploy the ABM: Bureaucratic and Domestic Politics in the Johnson Administration. World Politics 25:1 (1972):
Jayne, Edward R. The ABM Debate: Strategic Defense and National Security. Cambridge: MIT, Center for Strategic Studies, 1969.
Rabinowitch, Eugene, and Ruth Adams, eds. Debate: The Antiballistic Missile. Chicago, IL: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 1967.
Schneider, William Jr., et al. The Strategic Nuclear Policy and Ballistic Missile Defense: The
1980s and Beyond. Cambridge, MA: Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, 1980.

Selected References


Schwartz, David N. Past and Present: The Historical Legacy. In Ballistic Missile
Defense. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1984.
Slater, Jerome. Re-examining the ABM Moratorium: Population Defense Reconsidered: Is the ABM Really Inconsistent with Stability? Policy Studies Journal 8:1 (1979): 5359.
Yanarella, Ernest J. The Missile Defense Controversy: Strategy, Technology, and Politics,
19551972. rev. & expanded. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2002.
(debates over ballistic missile defense system)


Bunn, Matthew. Foundation for the Future: The ABM Treaty and National Security.
Washington, DC: Arms Control Association, 1990.
Drell, Sidney; Philip J. Farley, and David Holloway. Preserving the ABM Treaty:
A Critique of the Reagan Strategic Defense Initiative. International Security 9
(Fall 1984): 5191.
Durch, William J. Jr. The ABM Treaty and Western Security. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1988.
Garthoff, Raymond L. Policy versus the Law: The Reinterpretation of the ABM Treaty.
Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1987.
Graham, Thomas Jr. Law, Politics, and the ABM Treaty. Comparative Strategy 20:2
(Apr.June 2001): 197201.
Kennedy, Kevin C. Treaty Interpretation by the Executive Branch: The ABM
Treaty and Star Wars Testing and Development. American Journal of International Law 80 (Oct. 1986): 854877.
Longstreth, Thomas K., and John E. Pike. U.S., Soviet Programs Threaten ABM
Treaty. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 41 (Apr. 1985): 1115.
Mullerson, Rein. The ABM Treaty: Changed Circumstances, Extraordinary
Events, Supreme Interests and International Law. International & Comparative Law Quarterly 50:3 (July 2001): 509539.
Paine, Christopher. The ABM Treaty: Looking for Loopholes. Bulletin of the
Atomic Scientists 39 (Aug./Sept. 1983): 1317.
Payne, Keith B., and Rebecca V. Strode. Space-Based Laser BMD: Strategic
Policy and the ABM Treaty. International Security Review 7 (Fall 1982):
Rhinelander, John B. U.S. and Soviet Ballistic Missile Defense Programs: Implications for the 1972 ABM Treaty. Space Policy 2 (May 1986): 138152.
Sherr, Alan B. Sound Legal Reasoning or Policy Expedient? The New Interpretation of the ABM Treaty. International Security 11 (Winter 19861987):
Sofaer, Abraham D. The ABM Treaty and the Strategic Defense Initiative. Harvard Law Review 99 (May 1986): 19721985.
U.S. Department of State. The ABM Treaty and the SDI Program. Current Policy
Paper no. 755. Washington, DC: Bureau of Public Affairs, Oct. 1985. (Nitze &
Sofaer defend administration)
U.S. House. Committee on Foreign Affairs. International Security and Science Subcommittee. Hearings; ABM Treaty Interpretation Dispute. Washington, DC:
GPO, Oct. 22, 1985.


Selected References


Arms Agreements Are Invalid if US Abandons ABM Treaty. New Perspectives
Quarterly 18:4 (Fall 2001): 7981.
Boniface, Pascal. The Specter of Unilateralism. Washington Quarterly 24:3 (Summer 2001): 155162.
Clemens, Walter C. Jr. Who Terminates a Treaty? The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 57:6 (Nov./Dec. 2001): 3839, 4243.
Lindsay, James M., and Michael E. OHanlon. Missile Defense after the ABM
Treaty. Washington Quarterly 25:3 (Summer 2002): 163176.


INITIATIVE, 19831989
Boffey, Philip M. et al. Claiming the Heavens: The New York Times Complete Guide to
the Star Wars Debate. New York, 1988.
Broad, William J. Tellers War: The Top Secret Story behind the Star Wars Deception.
New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.
Carter, Ashton B., and David N. Schwartz, eds. Ballistic Missile Defense. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1984.
DiMaggio, Cosmo, and Davey Michael. The Strategic Defense Initiative Institute: An
Assessment of DoDs Current Proposal. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, Aug. 1986.
DiMaggio, Cosmo, Arthur F. Manfredi, and Steven A. Hildreth. The Strategic Defense Initiative, Program Description and Major Issues. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, Jan. 7, 1986.
Drell, Sidney D., Philip J. Farley, and David Holloway. The Reagan Strategic Defence Initiative: A Technical, Political and Arms Control Assessment. Cambridge, MA, 1985.
Fitzgerald, Frances. Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars and the End of the
Cold War. New York: Simon & Shuster, 2000.
Graham, Lt. Gen. Daniel O. We Must Defend AmericaAnd Put an End to MADness.
Chicago: Regnery Gateway, 1983.
Haley, P. Edward, and Jack Merritt, eds. Strategic Defense: Folly or Future? Boulder,
CO: Westview, 1986.
President Ronald Reagans Address to the Nation, March 23, 1983: Peace and
National Security. Daedalus 114 (Summer 1985), Appendix B: Relevant
Documents, pp. 369372.
Reiss, Edward. The Strategic Defense Initiative. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
Waller, Douglas C. et al. The Strategic Defense Initiative: Progress and Challenge.
A Guide to Issues and References. Claremont, CA: Regina Books, 1987. (an
extended bibliography to 1988)
Yost, David S. Soviet Ballistic Missile Defense and the Western Alliance. Cambridge,
MA: Harvard University Press, 1988.


Cirincione, Joseph. Assessing the Assessment: The 1999 National Intelligence
Estimate of the Ballistic Missile Threat. Nonproliferation Review 7 (Spring
2000): 125137.

Selected References


Cirincione, Joseph. Why the Right Lost the Missile Defense Debate. Foreign Policy No. 106 (Spring 1997): 3855.
Cooper, Henry F., Robert C. Richardson, and John Hutt Cunningham. The Rising
Threat of Missile Proliferation. The Journal of Social, Political and Economic
Studies 21 (Winter 1996): 371382.
Cordesman, Anthony H. Strategic Threats and National Missile Defense: Defending the
U.S. Homeland. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002.
Fox, Eugene, and Stanley Orman. The Limitations in American Capabilities for
Missile Defense. The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies 22 (Fall
1997): 259265.
Garwin, Richard L. A Defense That Will Not Defend. Washington Quarterly 23:3
(Summer 2000): 109123.
Graham, Bradley. Hit to Kill: The New Battle Over Shielding America from Missile Attack. New York: Public Affairs, 2001.
Hadley, Stephen J. A Call to Deploy. Washington Quarterly 23:3 (Summer 2000):
Hartung, William D. Reagan Redux: The Enduring Myth of Star Wars. World
Policy Journal 15:3 (Fall 1998): 1724.
Infosino, Charles J. A Technical History of Ballistic Missile Defense from 19841994.
Washington, DC: Department of Defense, Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, September 1995.
Jones, Rodney W. Taking National Missile Defense to Sea: A Critique of Sea-Based and
Boost-Phase Proposals. Washington, DC: Council for a Livable World, 2000.
Larson, Jeffrey A., and Gregory Rattray, eds. Arms Control Toward the 21st Century.
Boulder, CO: Lynn Reinner Publishers, 1996.
Lewis, George, Lisbeth Gronlund, and David Wright. National Missile Defense: An Indefensible System. Foreign Policy No. 117 (Winter 1999/2000):
McMahan, K. Scott. Unconventional Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons
Delivery Methods: Whither the Smuggled Bomb. Comparative Strategy 15
(Apr. 1996): 123134.
Powaski, Ronald E. Return to Armageddon: The United States and the Nuclear Arms
Race, 19811999. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Report of the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States: Executive Summary. Pursuant to Public Law 201. 104th Cong. Washington, DC:
GPO, July, 15, 1998.
Talbott, Strobe. The Russian Hand: A Memoir of Presidential Diplomacy. New York:
Random House, 2002.
U.S. General Accounting Office. Ballistic Missile Defense: Evolution and Current Issues. Report to the Chairman, Committee on Governmental Affairs, U.S.
Senate. Washington, DC: 1993.
Young, Stephen. Pushing the Limits: The Decision on National Missile Defense. Washington, DC: Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Danger, April 2000.


Bloomberg, Howard. The Theater Missile Threat and Allied Defense. The Journal
of Social, Political and Economic Studies 20 (Spring 1995): 319.


Selected References

Christensen, Thomas J. Theater Missile Defense and Taiwans Security. Orbis

44:1 (Winter 2000): 7990.
Fox, Eugene, and Stanley Orman. The Relevance of Naval Theater Missile Defense. The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies 23:1 (Spring 1998):
Fox, Eugene, and Stanley Orman. Why International Theater Missile Defense Is
Still a Challenge Rather Than a Reality. The Journal of Social, Political and
Economic Studies 23:2 (Summer 1998): 107120.
Frankel, S. Defeating Theater Missile Defense Radars with Active Decoys. Science and Global Security 6:3 (1997): 333355.
Hildreth, Steven A., and Jason D. Ellis. Allied Support for Theater Missile Defense. Orbis 40 (Winter 1996): 101121.
Lee, Wei-chin. Thunder in the Air: Taiwan and Theater Missile Defense. Nonproliferation Review 83 (2001): 107122.
ODonogue, Patrick M. Theater Missile Defense in Japan: Implications for the U.S.China-Japan Strategic Relationship. Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College, 2000.
Swaine, Michael D., Rachel M. Swanger, and Takashi Kawakami. Japan and Ballistic
Missile Defense. Santa Monica, CA: Rand, 2001.
Wang, T. Y. Taiwan and Theater Missile Defense. The Journal of Social, Political and
Economic Studies 25:3 (Fall 2000): 259283.


Boese, Wade. Army Report Details Patriot Record in Iraq War. Arms Control
Today (Nov. 2003): 3031.
Conyers, John Jr. The Patriot Myth. Arms Control Today 32 (Nov. 1992): 310.
Conyers, John Jr., and New York Congressman Frank Horton [on the Patriot Missile]. Arms Control Today 33 (Jan. 1993): 2629.
Hersh, Seymour. Missile Wars. New Yorker (Sept. 1994): 8699.
Postol, Theodore. Lessons from the Gulf Wars Experience with the Patriot. International Security 16 (Winter 19911992): 119171.
Postol, Theodore, and Robert M. Stein. [Patriot Missile]. International Security 17
(Summer 1992): 199240.


Boese, Wade. Bush Team Reaffirms Missile Defense Plans; Dems Leery. Arms
Control Today 31 (July/Aug. 2001): 1819.
Boese, Wade. Missile Defense Post-ABM Treaty: No System, No Arms Race.
Arms Control Today 33 (June 2003): 2024.
Bormann, Natalie. National Missile Defense and the Politics of US Identity: A Postcultural Critique. New York: Manchester University Press, 2008.
Butler, Jeffrey T. The Influence of Politics, Technology, and Asia on the Future of US Missile Defense. Maxwell Air Force Base, AL: Air University Press, 2007.
Eisendrath, Craig, Gerald E. Marsh, and Melvin A. Goodman. The Phantom Defense: Americas Pursuit of the Star Wars Illusion. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2001.

Selected References


Garrett, Major. The Enduring Revolution: How the Contract with America Continues to
Shape the Nation. New York: Crown Forum, 2005.
Gizewski, Peter. The International Politics of Missile Defence. International Journal 56:3 (Summer 2001): 527532.
Gormley, Dennis M. Enriching Expectations: 11 Septembers Lessons for Missile
Defence. Survival 44:2 (Summer 2002): 1935.
Hey, Nigel. The Star Wars Enigma: Behind the Scenes of the Cold War Race for Missile
Defense. Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2006.
Hildreth, Steven A., ed. Missile Defense: The Current Debate. New York: Novinka
Books, 2004.
Lindsay, James M., and Michael E. OHanlon. Defending America: The Case for Limited National Missile Defense. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press,
Lodal, Jan. The Price of Dominance: The New Weapons of Mass Destruction and Their
Challenge to American Leadership. New York: Council on Foreign Relations
Press, 2001.
U.S. Government Accountability Office. Defense Management: Actions Needed to Improve Operational Planning and Visibility of Costs for Ballistic Missile Defense.
Report to the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives. Washington, DC: Government Accountability Office, 2006.
U.S. Government Accountability Office. Missile Defense: Actions Needed to Improve
Information for Supporting Future Key Decisions for Boost and Ascent Phase Elements. Report to Congressional committees. Washington, DC: Government
Accountability Office, 2007. (examples of useful GAO reports)
U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs. What Are the Prospects? What Are the Costs? Oversight of Missile Defense (part 2). 110th Congress, 2d sess., Apr. 16, 2008. Washington, DC: GPO, 2009.
U.S. House of Representatives. Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs. Hearings; Oversight of Missile Defense (part 3): Questions for the Missile Defense Agency. 110th
Cong., 2d. sess., Apr. 30, 2008. Washington, DC: GPO, 2009. (examples of
useful congressional hearings)
Wirbel, Loring. Star Wars: US Tools of Space Supremacy. London: Pluto Press, 2003.


Ball, Charles. The Allies [and NMD]. In James J. Wirtz and Jeffrey A. Larsen, eds.
Rockets Red Glare: Missile Defense and the Future of World Politics. Boulder,
CO: Westview, 2001.
Blinken, Antony J. The False Crisis Over the Atlantic. Foreign Affairs 80:3 (May/
June 2001): 3548.
Bowen, Wyn Q. Missile Defense and the Transatlantic Security Relationship. International Affairs 77 (July 2001): 485508.
Brauch, Hans G. From Star Wars to Strategic Defense Initiative: European Perceptions and Assessments. New York: St. Martins, 1986.
Cohen, Nick. Star Wars in Their Eyes. New Statesman 130 (Jan. 8, 2001): 912.


Selected References

Daalder, Ivo H. The SDI Challenge to Europe. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger, 1987.
Daalder, Ivo H., and Christopher Makins. Towards a Transatlantic Consensus on
Missile Defence. Survival 43:3 (Autumn 2001): 6166.
Dinerman, Taylor. France and the Idea of Strategic Defense: Technology, Politics
and Doctrine. The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies 25:3 (Fall
2000): 285302.
Ennals, Richard. Star Wars: A Question of Initiative. New York: Wiley, 1987. (British
view; anti-SDI)
Fenske, John. France and the Strategic Defense Initiative: Speeding Up or Putting on the Brakes? International Affairs [Great Britain] 62 (Spring 1986):
Fox, Eugene, and Stanley Orman. The Divergence of Long-standing Allies. The
Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies 24:2 (Summer 1999): 131140.
Fox, Eugene, and Stanley Orman. Will Europe Invest in Missile Defense? The
Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies 24:1 (Spring 1999): 316.
Gordon, Philip H. Bush, Missile Defence and the Atlantic Alliance. Survival 43:1
(Spring 2001): 1736.
Gray, Colin S. European Perspectives on U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense. Comparative Strategy 21:4 (Oct.Dec. 2002): 279310.
Hamm, Manfred R., and W. Bruce Weinrod. The Transatlantic Politics of Strategic
Defense. Orbis 29 (Winter 1986): 709734. (pro-SDI)
Hoadley, Stephen. Europes America Problem. New Zealand International Review 27:5 (Sept.Oct. 2002): 1416.
Holm, Hans-Henrik. SDI and European Security: Does Dependence Assume Security? Alternatives: A Journal of World Policy 10:4 (1985): 517532.
Johnson, Rebecca. Downing Street Says Yes; Britons, No. The Bulletin of the Atomic
Scientists 57:6 (Nov./Dec. 2001): 2830.
Kanter, Arnold. Thinking about the Strategic Defense Initiative: An Alliance Perspective. International Affairs [Great Britain] 61 (Summer 1985): 449464.
Koehl, Stuart. The Strategic Defense Initiative and Its Potential for European
Industry. Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies 10 (Winter 1985):
Lellouche, Pierre. SDI and the Atlantic Alliance. SAIS Review 5 (SummerFall
1985): 6780. (critical of SDI)
Lodgaard, Sverre. European Views of the US NMD Programme. Pugwash Occasional Papers 2:2 (March 2001): 5263.
Mueller, Harald. Germany Hopes It Will Go Away. The Bulletin of the Atomic
Scientists 57:6 (Nov./Dec. 2001): 313.
Neuneck, Gtz. Missile Defense, Germany and Europe. Pugwash Occasional Papers 2:2 (March 2001): 8596.
Pearce, Sarah. UK Views on National Missile Defence. Pugwash Occasional Papers 2:2 (March 2001): 6475
Segell, Glen. Britain, the United States and Missile Defense. Review of International Affairs 1:4 (Summer 2002): 91104.
Stocker, Jeremy. Britains Role in U.S. Missile Defense. Carlisle Barracks, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2004.
Taylor, Trevor. Britains Response to the Strategic Defense Initiative. International
Affairs [Great Britain] 62 (Spring 1986): 217230.

Selected References



Adragna, Steven P. On Guard for Victory: Military Doctrine and Ballistic Missile Defense in the USSR. Cambridge: Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, 1987.
Daalder, Ivo H., and James M. Goldgeier. Russia [and NMD]. In James J. Wirtz
and Jeffrey A. Larsen, eds. Rockets Red Glare: Missile Defense and the Future of
World Politics. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2001.
Gobarev, Victor. The Early Development of Russias Ballistic Missile Defense System. Journal of Slavic Military Studies 14:2 (June 2001): 2948.
Postol, Theodore A. The Target Is Russia. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 56:2
(Mar./Apr. 2000): 3035.
Shoumikhin, Andrei, ed. Evolving Russian Perspectives on Missile Defense: The
Emerging Accommodation. Comparative Strategy 21:4 (OctDec, 2002):
Sokov, Nikola. Russian Strategic Modernization. Lanham, MD: Rowan & Littlefield,
Stevens, Sayre. The Soviet BMD Program. In Ashton B. Carter and David N.
Schwartz, eds. Ballistic Missile Defense. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1994.
Voas, Jeanette. Soviet Attitudes towards Ballistic Missile Defence and the ABM
Treaty. Adelphi Papers #255. London: International Institute for Strategic
Studies, 1990.
Yost, David S. Soviet Ballistic Missile Defense and NATO. Orbis 29 (Summer
1985): 281292.


[See also, Theater Missile Defenses]
Bi, Jianxiang. Uncertain Courses: Theater Missile Defense and Cross-Strait Competition, The Journal of Strategic Studies 25:3 (Sept. 2002): 109160.
Chinese Nuclear Forces, 2000. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 56 (MayJune
2000): 7879.
Ferguson, Charles. Sparking a Buildup: U.S. Missile Defense and Chinas Nuclear
Arsenal. Arms Control Today 30 (Mar. 2000): 1318.
Glaser, Bonnie S., and Banning N. Garrett. Chinese Perspectives on the Strategic
Defense Initiative. Problems of Communism 35 (Mar./Apr. 1986): 2844.
Huntley, Wade L. Missile Defense: More May Be Betterfor China. Nonproliferation Review 9:2 (Summer 2002): 6881.
Lampton, David. Same Bed, Different Dreams: U.S.-Chinese Relations, 19892000.
Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2001.
Lewis, John Wilson, and Xue Litai. China Builds the Bomb. Stanford, CA: Stanford
University Press, 1988.
McDevitt, Michael. Beijings Bind. Washington Quarterly 23:3 (2000): 177186.
OHanlon, Michael. Why China Cant Conquer Taiwan. International Security 25
(Fall 2000): 5186.
Roberts, Bradley. China [Response to NMD]. In James J. Wirtz and Jeffrey A.
Larsen, eds. Rockets Red Glare: Missile Defense & the Future of World Politics.
Boulder, CO: Westview, 2001.


Selected References

Roberts, Bradley, Robert A. Manning, and Ronald N. Montaperto. China: The

Forgotten Nuclear Power. Foreign Affairs 79 (JulAug 2000): 5363.
Shambaugh, David. Facing Reality in China Policy. Foreign Affairs 80:1 (Jan./
Feb. 2001): 5064.
Swaine, Michael D. Taiwans National Security, Defense Policy, and Weapons Procurement Processes. Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corp., 1999.
U.S. House. Report of the United States House of Representatives Select Committee on
U.S. National Security and Military Commercial Concerns with the Peoples Republic of China. H. Rpt. 59. 106 Cong. 1st Sess. G.P.O., 1999. The Cox Report. See Jonathan Pollack, The Cox Reports Dirty Little Secret, Arms
Control Today 29 (Apr.May 1999): 2627; John M. Spratt, Jr. Keep the Facts
of the Cox Report in Perspective. Ibid, 2425.
Zang, Ming. What Threat? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 55 (Sept.Oct. 1999):


Arkin, William. Nuclear Junkies: Those Lovable Little Bombs. Bulletin of the
Atomic Scientists 49 (July 1993): 25.
Cirincione, Joseph. The Asian Nuclear Reaction Chain. Foreign Policy 118 (Spring
2000): 120136.
Clugston, M. A Polite No to Star Wars. MacLeans 98 (Sept. 16, 1985): 1011.
(Canadian Government)
Fergusson, James. Not Home Alone: Canada and Ballistic Missile Defence. International Journal 56:4 (Autumn 2001): 678685.
Haglund, David G. Yesterdays Issue? National Missile Defence, Canada, and the
Allies. International Journal 56:4 (Autumn 2001): 686698.
Holmes, Kim R. U.S.-Soviet-China Relations and Strategic Defense. Washington,
DC: Heritage Foundation, 1986.
Hoyt, Timothy D. South Asia [and NMD]. In James J. Wirtz and Jeffrey A. Larsen, eds. Rockets Red Glare: Missile Defense and the Future of World Politics.
Boulder, CO: Westview, 2001.
Jimbo, Ken. A Japanese Perspective on Missile Defense and Strategic Coordination. Nonproliferation Review 9:2 (Summer 2002): 5662.
Lyon, Rod, and David Dellit. Ballistic Missile Defence: An Australian Perspective. Australian Journal of International Affairs 55:3 (Nov. 2001): 445451.
Mueller, David. Inescapable SDI. International Perspectives [Canada] (Sept./Oct.
1986): 1416.
Perkovich, George. Indias Nuclear Bomb. Berkeley: University of California Press,
Rohrlich, Paul E. Canada and Star Wars. International Perspectives (May/June
1985): 1720.
Ross, Douglas A. Coping with Star Wars: Issues for Canada and the Alliance. Aurora
Papers #2. Ottawa: Canadian Center for Arms Control and Disarmament,
Russell, Richard L. Swords and Shields: Ballistic Missiles and Defenses in the
Middle East and South Asia. Orbis: A Journal of World Affairs 46:3 (Summer
2002): 483498.

Selected References


Shelton, Garth. Military Technology, Missile Defence, New Global Threats and
South Africa. South African Journal of International Affairs 9:2 (Winter 2002):
Sheppard, Ben. South Asia Nears Nuclear Boiling Point. Janes Intelligence Review 11 (Apr. 1999): 3335.
Stav, Arieh, ed. The Threat of Ballistic Missiles in the Middle East: Active Defense and
Counter-measures. Portland, OR: Sussex Academic Press, 2004.
Takase, Shojio. What Star Wars Means to Japan. Japan Quarterly 32 (July/Sept.
1985): 240247.
Thornton, Thomas Perry. Pakistan: Fifty Years of Insecurity. In Selig Harrison,
Paul Kreisberg, and Dennis Kux, eds. India and Pakistan: The First Fifty Years.
Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center and Cambridge University
Press, 1999.
Tow, William T., and William Choong. Asian Perceptions of BMD: Defence or
Disequilibrium? Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and
Strategic Affairs 23:3 (Dec. 2001): 379400.
Urayama, Kori. Japans Wait-And-See Approach. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 57:6 (Nov./Dec. 2001): 3335.
Wirick, Gregory. Canadian Responses to the Strategic Defense Initiative. Ottawa: Canadian Institute for International Peace & Security, 1985.


Ehteshami, Anoushiravan. Teherans Tocsin. Washington Quarterly 23 (Summer
2000): 171176. (discusses its missile policies)
Lake, Anthony. Confronting Backlash States. Foreign Affairs 74 (March/April
1994): 4555. (first official use of the term rogue states)
Lavoy, Peter, Scott D. Sagan, and James J. Wirtz, eds. Planning the Unthinkable: How
New Powers Will Use Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Weapons. Ithaca, NY:
Cornell University Press, 2000.
Litwak, Robert S. Rogue States and U.S. Foreign Policy: Containment after the Cold
War. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 2000.
McMahon, K. Scott. Unconventional Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons
Delivery Methods: Whither the Smuggled Bomb. Comparative Strategy 15
(Apr. 1996): 123134.
Nolan, Janne. Trappings of Power: Ballistic Missiles in the Third World. Washington,
DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1991.
Simon, Michael W. Rogue State Response to BMD: The Regional Context. Defense & Security Analysis 18:3 (Sept. 2002): 271292.

Bermudez, Joseph S. Jr. A History of Ballistic Missile Development in the DPRK
[North Korea]. Occasional Paper 2. Monterey, CA: Monterey Institute of International Studies, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Nov. 1999.
Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, Executive Summary of Report to Congress. Washington, DC: GPO, July 15, 1998.


Selected References

Harrison, Selig S. The Missiles of North Korea: How Real a Threat? World Policy
Journal 17 (Fall 2000): 1324.
Oh, Kongdan and Ralph C. Hassig. North Korea through the Looking Glass. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2000.
Sigal, Leon D. Disarming Strangers: Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea. Princeton,
NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998. (Includes the Agreed Framework
for persuading North Korea to halt missile development)
Snyder, Scott. Pyongyangs Pressure. Washington Quarterly 23 (Summer 2000):


AAD (Advanced Air Defence), 107

ABL (Airborne Laser aircraft), 7576,
12223, 12729, 131, 134, 135, 138, 149
ABM. See Antiballistic missile
ABM Treaty (1972): Agreed Statement
D of, 27; Article II of, 27; Article
VI(a) of, 62; Article V of, 27; Article
XIII of, 29; Bush, G.W., and, 2, 7, 9,
2327, 71, 157; Clinton, W.J., and, 54;
compliance with, 28, 29, 52, 5657,
62, 69; modification of, 29, 44, 62, 66,
71; NATO and, 63; 1997 protocols
for, 62; Nixon and, 86; Nunn-Levin
amendment and, 44; Pentagon and,
68; politics and, 43, 61, 62; as Public
Law 92448, 28; ratification of, 28,
44; Reagan and, 32, 36; research/
development under, 3233, 36; SALT
I/II under, 2426, 2829, 31; SCC for,
29; between Soviet Union/U.S., 2, 7,
9, 2328, 35; Standing Consultative
Commission for, 62; termination of,
72, 79, 86; testing under, 68
ABM Treaty and Strategic Arms
Limitation Talks (SALT), 24 26,
28 29, 31

Abrahamson, James A., 37, 38, 42, 43,

48 49
ACDA (Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, U.S.), 24 25
Advanced Air Defence (AAD), 107
Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system,
66, 67 69, 91, 93, 113, 119, 121 25,
127, 130 31, 134, 140, 147, 156
Aegis Lightweight Exoatmospheric
Projectile Intercept (ALI), 74
Agreed Framework (1994), 96, 97, 99.
See also North Korea
Airborne Laser aircraft (ABL), 75 76,
122 23, 127 29, 131, 134, 135,
138, 149. See also Airborne Laser
Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB), 149
Alaska/California, BMD in, 2, 63 64,
67, 68, 77, 79 82, 104, 112, 113,
116 24, 130, 134, 154, 155
ALI (Aegis Lightweight Exoatmospheric Projectile Intercept), 74
ALTB (Airborne Laser Testbed), 149
America at Risk (film), 58 60
American Council of Catholic
Bishops, 33

American Scientists, Federation of. See
Federation of American Scientists
Antiballistic missile (ABM): approach
to, 14, 17, 20; ban on, 26; decoys
and, 15; as destabilizing, 6, 17, 25,
70, 79; as deterrent, 11; Eisenhower
and, 2, 11; exotics for, 26, 27, 42, 48;
funding for, 32, 34 36, 49 51, 57,
61, 81, 84 88, 90, 94, 132; Galosh as,
18, 20, 21, 22; interceptor for, 4 5,
8, 11, 69; lasers for, 27, 69; limiting
of, 19; North Korean ABM as, 101,
122; partisanship for, 2 3, 21, 56 57;
PATRIOT system as, 32 33, 49 51,
58, 66 69, 74 75, 77, 79, 81, 89, 93,
102 4, 105 7, 109 10, 113 14, 123,
131, 134, 140, 145 46, 151, 156;
political pressure for, 11, 17 18,
20 21, 34, 60; radars for, 28, 30, 64,
67, 69, 82, 88, 107, 119, 123, 136;
reliability of, 3, 112; restrictions on,
26; in Romania, 147; Sentinel as,
18, 20, 21, 23; Talos missile for, 13;
technology for, 3 4, 27, 56. See also
Brilliant Pebbles
Antiballistic Missile treaty, 55
Antitactical ballistic missiles (ATBM),
46 47
Armed Forces Committee, House/
Senate, 16, 18, 34, 37, 44, 50, 53, 55,
68, 81 82, 87 90, 122, 135
Arms Control Agency, U.S., 8, 75
Arms Control and Disarmament
Agency, U.S. (ACDA), 24 25
Arms Control and International
Security Affairs Bureau, U.S. State
Department, 63
Arms Control Association, 6
Arms Control Today, 102, 113
Arms race: as deterrent, 1, 5 7, 11, 15,
19 20, 36, 73, 79, 104 5; disarmament v., 19, 24 25; in space, 6 7,
73; between U.S./China, 104 5;
between U.S./Soviet Union, 6 7,
11, 15, 19 20, 36, 79. See also ABM
Army Magazine, 21
Army Safeguard Command, U.S., 30
Arrow, by Israel, 8, 47, 75, 109 11

Assured destruction, doctrine of, 5,
24, 33, 37, 38
ATBM (antitactical ballistic missiles),
46 47
Azerbaijan, 85, 87
Ballistic missile defense (BMD): in
Alaska/California, 2, 63 64, 67,
68, 77, 79 82, 104, 112, 113, 116 24,
130, 134, 154, 155; Bush, G.W. and,
2; Clinton, W.J., and, 2, 11, 56 57;
computers for, 34; costs of, 1, 3;
Cuban missile crisis and, 17, 21, 86;
in Czech Republic, 6, 79 80, 82 90,
92 94, 136, 137, 140 41, 151; debates
over, 2 3, 30 31, 50, 130; decoys
and, 15; as deterrent, 1; flight stages
of, 9; GAO cost estimates for, 3, 51,
53, 76, 112 13, 115 17, 121, 127,
128, 132, 152 53; for India, 1 2,
107 8, 148; for Japan, 1 2, 101 2;
by Johnson-Nixon, 2; Joint Chiefs
of Staff and, 13; limitations of, 4, 9,
130; National Security Presidential
Directive 23 for, 79; for North Korea,
97; Obama and, 6, 87, 90, 94, 140;
Operational Test and Evaluation
for, 5; for Pakistan, 107; as partisan
issue, 1, 2 3, 21, 56 57; for Poland,
6, 79 80, 82 90, 92 94, 136, 137, 140,
145 47, 151; public opinion about,
2 3; Rumsfeld Commission Report
and, 2, 60 61, 64, 97; for South
Korea, 1 2, 103; technology for,
69, 94, 130, 153; as theater ballistic
missiles, 9; Truman and, 10; U.S.
public and, 2 3; U.S./Soviet Union
negotiations over, 1, 6, 31, 34, 142.
See Ballistic missile defense
Ballistic Missile Defense Organization
(BMDO), 55, 69. See also Missile
Defense Agency
Ballistic Missile Defense Review, 133,
Ballistic Missile Defense System
(BMDS), 122
Ballistic Missile Early Warning
System, 80
Blair, Tony, 71, 80

BMD. See Ballistic missile defense
BMDO (Ballistic Missile Defense
Organization), 55, 69. See also
Ballistic missile defense; Missile
Defense Agency
BMDS (Ballistic Missile Defense
System), 122
Boeing corporation, 48, 73, 75, 82, 130
Boese, Wade, 75, 102, 113 14
BP (Brilliant Pebbles), 48 49, 52, 69
Brezhnev, Leonid, 28, 29, 33, 86
Brilliant Pebbles (BP), 48 49, 52, 69
Brown, Harold, 15, 18 19, 20, 27, 37
Bureau of Intelligence and Research,
61, 97
Bush, George H.W., 2, 47 49, 53 54,
Bush, George W.: ABM Treaty and,
2, 7, 9, 23 27, 71, 157; BMD and, 2;
MDA under, 3, 69, 73, 74, 79, 80, 82,
86 89, 112 18, 120 22, 126, 128, 131,
133, 150; missile defense program
under, 2, 67, 113, 155 56; National
Missile Defense Initiative by, 76 78;
NATO and, 83, 89 90, 140; 9/11
attack and, 2, 66, 71; rogue nations
and, 1, 7, 49, 57, 80, 95, 99, 113,
135 36; Rumsfeld and, 2, 60 61, 64,
67, 68, 69, 77, 82, 97, 115 16; secrecy
and, 78, 113; unilateralism of, 7, 63,
72, 80, 84, 86, 87, 95, 99
California/Alaska, BMD in, 2, 63 64,
67, 68, 77, 79 82, 104, 112, 113,
116 24, 130, 134, 154, 155
Carter, Jimmy, 33, 55
CBO (Congressional Budget Office),
Central Command, U.S., 140
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 60
CFE (Conventional Forces in Europe),
47, 145
China, 1, 6, 20, 21, 53, 61 62, 96,
104 7, 143, 148, 151
CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), 60
Clinton, Hillary R., 94, 115
Clinton, William J., Bill: ABM Treaty
and, 54; BMD and, 2, 11, 56 57;
NATO/Russia exercises and, 80;

NMD by, 55 56, 63 65, 69, 104;
North Korean negotiations by,
96 100
Cold War, 1, 7, 11 12, 47 48, 56, 72, 90,
91, 145
Committee for a Prudent Defense
Policy, 18, 23
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, 137
Concerned Scientists, Union of, 69 70,
Congressional Budget Office (CBO),
Contractors, defense, 21, 37 39, 46 48,
Contract with America (Republican
Party), 56
Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE),
47, 145
Cook, Douglas M., 38, 42
Corps SAM. See Medium Extended
Air Defense System
Coyle, Philip E., III, 4, 74, 78, 112, 124
Cuban missile crisis, 17, 21, 86
Czech Republic, BMD sites in, 6,
79 80, 82 90, 92 94, 136, 137,
140 41, 151
DAB (Defense Acquisition Board), 43
DARPA (Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency), 150 51
The Day After (television), 39
Decoys, detection of, 7, 15, 69
Defend America Act, 56, 57 58
Defense, U.S. Department of, 1, 4, 14, 90
Defense Acquisition Board (DAB), 43
Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency (DARPA), 150 51
Defense Authorization Bill, 140
Defense Science Board (DSB), 33, 43
Defense Support Program, 64
Delauer, Richard, 35 36, 38
Democratic Party, 15, 21, 23, 36, 37, 49,
56, 60, 64, 77, 78, 93, 127, 153
Deterrent: ABM as, 11; arms race as, 1,
5 7, 11, 15, 19 20, 36, 73, 79, 104 5;
BMD as, 1; Minuteman III as, 20,
21, 22; mutual vulnerability under,
15, 37, 38; negotiation v., 23, 34;
provocation v., 21

DEW (Distant Early Warning), 12
Distant Early Warning (DEW), 12
Dobrynin, Anatoly, 25 26, 36
DSB (Defense Science Board), 33, 43
Eisenhower, Dwight D., 2, 10 17
EKV (exoatmospheric kill vehicle),
65 66, 69, 81, 119, 130
Energy, as directed, 34, 36, 135, 138
ERIS (exoatmospheric reentry
interceptor subsystem), 42, 43, 49, 53
Eureka, as ATBM system, 47
European Defense Initiative, 46
European Union, 63, 83, 86, 137
Exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV),
65 66, 69, 81, 119, 130
Exoatmospheric reentry interceptor
subsystem (ERIS), 42, 43, 49, 53
Extended Air Defense System, by
NATO, 47
Face the Nation (television), 116
Facing up to the Bomb (television), 39
Father of All Bombs (FOAB), 145
Federation of American Scientists, 20,
Fletcher panel, 36 38
Flory, Peter, 102, 114
FOAB (Father of All Bombs), 145
Foreign Relations Committee, U.S.
Senate, 62 63
Forward Air Defense system, 46
Francis E. Warren Air Force Base,
29 30
The Full Costs of Ballistic Missile Defense
(Kaufman), 3, 132
Funding: for ABM, 32, 34 36, 49 51,
57, 61, 81, 84 88, 90, 94, 132; for
North Korean reactors, 96; for
Pentagon, 13, 34, 69, 133; Reagans
request for, 34 35; for Safeguard
system, 23 24, 28 30; for SDI, 37,
42, 43, 46 47, 49, 52, 69
Future Security Strategy Study team,
36 38
Gaither Commission Report, 13 15
Galosh, as Soviet ABM system, 18, 20,
21, 22

GAO (General Accounting Office), 3,
51, 53, 76, 112 13, 115 17, 121, 127,
128, 132, 152 53
Gates, Robert, 47 48, 60, 82, 84 85,
91 92, 107 8, 122, 123, 134 35,
140 42, 149 51, 157
GBI (ground-based interceptor), 140,
145, 152
GBM (ground-based missile system),
8, 47, 134, 140, 145
GBMD system, 130
General Accounting Office (GAO), 3,
51, 53, 76, 112 13, 115 17, 121, 127,
128, 132, 152 53
Global Defense System, 53 54
Global Protection Against Limited
Strikes (GPALS), 48, 49, 52
Global Protection System (GPS),
53 54
GMD (Mid-course Ground-based
Midcourse Defense project), 67, 69,
77, 82, 113 18, 121 22, 134, 149, 154,
Gorbachev, Mikhail, 32, 45, 46, 47 48
Gormley, Dennis M., 156
GPALS (Global Protection Against
Limited Strikes), 48, 49, 52
GPS (Global Protection System), 53 54
Graham, Bradley, 65, 130
Graham, William, 60, 116
Ground-based interceptor (GBI), 140,
145, 152
Ground-based missile system (GBM),
8, 47, 134, 140, 145
Gulf Wars, 32 33, 49 51, 58, 110, 131
Havel, Vaclav, 137
Hit to Kill (Graham, B.), 65, 130
HOE (Homing Overlay Experiment),
41 42, 69
Hoffman Commission. See Future
Security Strategy Study team
Homing Overlay Experiment (HOE),
41 42, 69
IAEA (International Atomic Energy
Agency), 96, 108, 139
ICBM. See Intercontinental ballistic

IDA (Institute for Defense Analyses),
121 22
India, BMD for, 1 2, 107 8, 148
INF Treaty, 46, 47
Inside the Navy, 124
Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA),
121 22
Institute for the Study of War, 140
Intercontinental ballistic missile
(ICBM): Atlas as, 14; from China,
1; decoys on, 7, 15, 69; defense
against, 12, 123 24; flight stages for,
9; Jupiter as, 14; kinetic-kill vehicles
for, 33; as long-range, 9; Minuteman
III as, 20, 21, 22; MIRV enhancement
of, 19 20; nuclear warhead on, 4;
SALT II pact for, 26; Salt I pact for,
24 26, 28 29, 31; from Soviet Russia/Russia, 1, 37, 91, 142; START II
for, 62, 72, 144; Thor as, 14; Titan
as, 14
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces
Treaty (1987), 83, 91
International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA), 96, 108, 139
Iran: missile program by, 6, 7, 49, 53,
57, 60 61, 70, 83, 84, 85 89, 92 97,
108 11, 118, 138 40, 148 49; nuclear
enrichment facilities by, 108; as
rogue state, 1, 49, 57, 80, 113, 135 36
Iraq, 49, 52, 57, 60 61, 70, 74, 110
Iron Dome, 110
Is LBJ Right? (Republican National
Committee), 18
Israel, 1 2, 8, 47, 75, 109 11
Ivanov, Igor, 71, 72
Japan, BMD for, 1 2, 101 2
JCS ( Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S.), 13,
17 18, 23, 24, 49
JIAMDO ( Joint Integrated Air and
Missile Defense Organization), 134
Jiang Zemin, 63, 70
JLENS ( Joint Land Attack Cruise
Missile Defense Elevated Netter
Sensor), 134
Johnson, Lyndon B., 2, 17 18, 20, 21, 31
Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. ( JCS), 13,
17 18, 23, 24, 49

Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, 96
Joint Integrated Air and Missile
Defense Organization ( JIAMDO),
Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile
Defense Elevated Netter Sensor
( JLENS), 134
Kaczynski, Lech, 88, 90
Kadish, Ronald, 70, 74, 82
Kaufman, Richard F., 3, 132
KEI (Kinetic Energy Interceptor), 122,
129 30, 131, 134, 135
Kennedy, John F., 2, 16, 17, 21
Keyworth, George, II, 34, 37 38
Khrushchev, Nikita, 14, 16
Kim Jong Il, 70, 98 99
Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI), 122,
129 30, 131, 134, 135
Kissinger, Henry, 22 26, 28, 31
Laser, use of, 27, 69, 75 76, 122 23,
127 29, 131, 134, 135, 138, 149
Lavrov, Sergey, 91, 142
Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, 33
Lehner, Rick, 113, 115, 119, 122
Levin, Carl, 44, 77, 82
Levin, Robert E., 128
Lindsay, James M., 6, 61, 77
Lockheed-Martin, 48, 53, 73, 75 76
MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction),
15, 37, 38
Massive Ordnance Air Burst bomb
(MOAB), 145
McFarlane, Robert, 34, 43, 44
McNamara, Robert S., 5, 15 18, 155
MDA (Missile Defense Agency), 3,
69, 73, 74, 79, 80, 82, 86 89, 112 18,
120 22, 126, 128, 131, 133 34,
136 37, 149, 150, 153
MDAA (Missile Defense Advocacy
Alliance), 146
MEADS (Medium Extended Air
Defense System), 81, 134, 151
Medium Extended Air Defense
System (MEADS), 81, 134, 151
Medvedev, Dimitri, 91, 137, 146, 157

Meet the Press (television), 37, 43
Merkel, Angela, 83
Mid-course Ground-based Midcourse
Defense project (GMD), 67, 69, 77,
82, 113 18, 121 22, 134, 149, 154,
Military Power of China (U.S.
Department of Defense), 106
Minuteman missile, 20, 21, 22, 73,
MIRV multiple independently
targeted reentry vehicles (MIRVs),
19, 23
Missile Contagion: Cruise Missile Proliferation and the Threat to International
Security (Gormley), 156
Missile Defense Act (1991), 51 52, 56
Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance
(MDAA), 146
Missile Defense Agency (MDA), 3,
69, 73, 74, 79, 80, 82, 86 89, 112 18,
120 22, 126, 128, 131, 133 34,
136 37, 149, 150, 153
Missile Technology Control Regime
(MTCR), 8, 97
MKV (Multiple Kill Vehicle program),
134, 135 36
MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Burst
bomb; Mother of All Bombs), 145
Moscow Treaty. See Strategic
Offensive Reductions Treaty
MTCR (Missile Technology Control
Regime), 8, 97
Multiple Kill Vehicle program (MKV),
134, 135 36
Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD),
15, 37, 38
Nance, Willie, 69, 116
National Aeronautics and Space
Agency, 36 37
National Command Authorities
(NCA), 25
National Defense Authorization Act
(1992 1993), 56
National Defense Authorization Act
(2009), 133
National Defense Industrial
Association, 58

National Intelligence Estimate (NIE),
56, 60
National missile defense (NMD),
55 56, 63 65, 69, 104. See also Midcourse Ground-based Midcourse
Defense project
National Missile Defense Act (1999),
62, 64, 67. See also Mid-course
Ground-based Midcourse Defense
National Missile Defense Initiative,
76 78, 113
National Security Council, U.S., 23,
34, 65
National Security Directive No. 172, 41
National Security Presidential
Directive 23, 79
National Security Strategy document,
NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), 46, 47, 63, 71, 72, 80, 83,
89 92, 136, 140 41, 147
NATO-Russia Permanent JointCouncil, 71
Navy Area Wide Missile Defense, 73
Navy Theater Wide (NTW), 66, 67 68,
73. See also Aegis Ballistic Missile
Defense system
NCA (National Command Authorities), 25
Nelson, Bill, 88, 90
New SALT treaty, 145
New START treaty, 154 55, 156, 157
NIE (National Intelligence Estimate),
56, 60
Nike missile systems: Nike-Ajax as,
10 12; Nike-Hercules as, 12; Nike-X
as, 16 18; Nike-Zeus as, 12 17,
20 21, 22, 30
9/11, attacks of. See September 11,
2001; Terrorism, war on
Nitze, Paul, 23, 28, 41
Nixon, Richard M., 2, 21 32, 37, 78,
86, 142
NMD (national missile defense),
55 56, 63 65, 69, 104
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), 96, 99
NORAD (North American Air Defense command), 72

North American Air Defense command (NORAD), 72
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO), 46, 47, 63, 71, 72, 80, 83,
89 92, 136, 140 41, 147
North Korea: Agreed Framework by,
96, 97, 99; BMD for, 97; Clinton,
W.J., negotiations with, 96 100;
Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula
by, 96; missile program by, 97 102,
113, 118, 120, 122, 139; negotiations
with, 96 100; NPT for, 96; Obama
and, 101, 122; reactor funding for,
96; threat by, 1, 7, 49, 57, 60 62,
64 65, 70, 76, 80, 94, 95 96; U.S.
sanctions against, 97, 98
NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty), 96, 99
NTW (Navy Theater Wide), 66, 67 68,
Nuclear freeze, movement for, 36, 38
Nuclear Posture Review, 104
Nuclear Winter (television), 39
Nunn, Sam, 37, 43, 44, 49
Obama, Barack H.: Aegis/THAAD
and, 127, 134, 147, 150, 156; Ballistic
Missile Defense Review by, 93;
defense budget by, 133 34, 150 52;
Europe BMD and, 6, 87, 90, 94, 140;
MDA under, 133 34, 136 37, 149,
150, 153; Nobel Peace prize for, 137;
North Korean ABM and, 101, 122;
Phased-Adaptive Approach plan
by, 140 41, 142, 145, 147, 149 50,
152; Russias relations with, 142 45,
151, 154 57
Obering, Henry, 83, 87 89, 113 17,
120, 139
OHanlon, Michael E., 6, 61
Operational Test and Evaluation,
Pentagon Office of, 74, 114
Oplan 5077, 106
Orbital Sciences, 73
PAC-2 (Patriot Advanced
Capability-2), 103, 105, 109 10, 131
PAC-3 (Patriot Advanced
Capability-3), 66, 69, 74 75, 77, 79,

81, 89, 102, 104, 106, 107, 110, 123,
131, 151
Pacific Missile Range Facility, 74
Pakistan, BMD and, 107
PAR (Perimeter Acquisition Radar), 30
Patriot Advanced Capability-2
(PAC-2), 103, 105, 109 10, 131
Patriot Advanced Capability-3
(PAC-3), 66, 69, 74 75, 77, 79, 81, 89,
102, 104, 106, 107, 110, 123, 131, 151
PATRIOT systems, 32 33, 49 51, 58,
66 69, 74 75, 77, 79, 81, 89, 93,
102 4, 105 7, 109 10, 113 14, 123,
131, 134, 140, 145 46, 151, 156
PAVE PAWS, 107. See also Radar
Pentagon: ABM tests by, 3 4; ABM
Treaty and, 68; defense contracts
from, 48; Defense Science Board
for, 33; directed-energy research by,
34, 36, 135; funding for, 13, 34, 69,
133; Future Security Strategy Study
team by, 38; MDA under, 3, 69, 73,
74, 79, 80, 82, 86 89, 112 18, 120 22,
126, 128, 131, 133 34, 136 37, 149,
150, 153; NMD program by, 55 56,
63 65, 69, 104; Operational Test and
Evaluation office under, 74, 114;
Oplan 5077 by, 106; Reentry Body
Identification Group report for, 14;
SDI and, 37, 39, 40, 42, 43, 46 47,
49, 52, 69. See also Defense, U.S.
Department of
Perimeter Acquisition Radar (PAR), 30
Personnel, U.S. military/civilian,
SOFA for, 92, 94, 145
Petraeus, David, 140
Phased-Adaptive Approach plan. See
Obama, Barack H.
Phased Array Tracking Intercept of
Ploughshare Fund, 51
Poland, BMD sites in, 6, 79 80, 82 90,
92 94, 136, 137, 140, 145 47, 151
Polaris missiles, 13
Politics, for missile defense: ABM
Treaty and, 43, 61, 62; Democratic
Party and, 15, 21, 23, 36, 37, 49, 56,
60, 64, 77, 78, 93, 127, 153; missile/

space/limited war gap and, 15,
21; Nike-Zeus system and, 20 21;
pressure through, for ABM, 11,
17 18, 20 21, 34, 60; Republican
Party and, 2, 15, 18, 21, 33, 36, 44,
49, 52, 54, 56 57, 60, 62 64, 72, 93,
96, 107, 133 35, 140, 154, 157; SDI
and, 37, 42, 43, 46 47, 49, 52, 69
Polling, about BMD systems, 2 3
POM (Program Objective Memorandum), 135
Powell, Colin, 71, 72, 98
Prague Declaration, 90
Program Objective Memorandum
(POM), 135
Project Wizard, 10 11, 13
Public Law 92 448. See ABM Treaty
Putin, Vladimir, 62, 67, 70, 72, 80,
84 87, 89, 91, 136, 142
Quadrennial Defense Review, 105
Radar: for ABM, 28, 64, 67, 69, 82, 88,
107, 119, 123, 136; PAR as, 30; PAVE
PAWS as, 107; SPY-1 as, 107, 123;
X-band as, 64, 67, 69, 82, 88, 119, 136
Rand Corporation, 23
Raytheon corporation, 50 51, 65, 74,
107, 130
Reagan, Ronald, 2, 28, 32, 34 35,
45 48, 63, 151
Reconnaissance, satellite, 28
Reed, Jack, 77, 78
Reentry Body Identification Group, 14
Reflections on Progress, Coexistence
and Intellectual Freedom
(Sakharov), 19
Republican Party, 2, 15, 18, 21, 33, 36,
44, 49, 52, 54, 56 57, 60, 62 64, 72,
93, 96, 107, 133 35, 140, 154, 157
Rice, Condoleezza, 84, 91 92
Romania, ABM in, 147
Rumsfeld, Donald, 2, 60 61, 64, 67, 68,
69, 77, 82, 97, 115 16
Rumsfeld Commission Report, 2,
60 61, 64, 97
Russell, Richard B., 18, 23
Russia: BMD sites near, 6, 142; defense
policies of, 7; ICBMs by, 1, 37, 91,
142; missile threat from, 61 62;

nationalism in, 145; NATO exercises
with, 80; NATO-Russia Permanent
Joint-Council and, 71; Obama relations with, 142 45, 151, 154 57; tension between U.S. and, 83, 86 87,
89 91, 151, 156 57. See also ABM
Safeguard system, 21 30, 78, 142
Sakharov, Andrei, 19, 46
SALT I/II, 24 26, 28 29, 31. See also
ABM Treaty and Strategic Arms
Limitation Talks
Saraswat, V.K., 107, 148
SBIRS-High (Space-Based Infrared
System-High), 64, 69, 134, 151
SBIRS-Low (Space-Based Infrared
System-Low), 64, 69
SBX. See X-band, as radar
SCC (Standing Consultative Commission), 29
Scientific Advisory Board, 14
Scientific American ( journal), 17, 19, 20
Scowcroft, Brent, 36, 48
Scud missile, 47, 50, 53, 61, 75, 97,
109 11
SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative),
35 49, 52, 69
SDIO (Strategic Defense Initiative
Organization), 37, 38, 41 43, 47, 48,
49, 52, 55
Semonov, Vladimir, 24 25, 26, 28
Sensor, infrared, 5, 64, 69 70
Sentinel, ABM, 18, 20, 21, 23. See also
Safeguard system
September 11, 2001, 2, 66, 71
Serdyukov, Anatoliy Eduardovich,
Shelters, civil defense, 14, 16
Shifter Commission, 16
Shultz, George, 36, 43, 44, 45
SM (Standard Missile), 8, 123, 125,
134, 140, 145
Smith, Gerard C., 24 26, 28
SOFA (supplementary status of forces
agreements), 92, 94, 145
SORT (Strategic Offensive Reductions
Treaty), 72, 80, 86, 136, 143
South Korea, BMD for, 1 2, 103
Soviet Institute for Space Research, 46

Soviet Union: ABM development
and, 19 20; ABM Treaty with, 2, 7,
9, 23 28, 35; arms race for, 6 7, 11,
15, 19 20, 36, 79; Cold War for, 1,
7, 11 12, 47 48, 56, 72, 90, 91, 145;
defense policies of, 1, 7; demise of,
48; Galosh ABM system for, 18, 20,
21, 22; Sputnik by, 14; Tallinn ABM
system by, 20, 21; technology in, 25.
See also Russia
Space and Missile Defense Working
Group, 58
Space-Based Infrared System-High
(SBIRS-High), 64, 69, 134, 151
Space-Based Infrared System-Low
(SBIRS-Low), 64, 69
Spartan warhead, 17, 22, 30
Sprint missile, 17, 22, 30
Sputnik, 14
SPY-1, as radar, 107, 123. See also
Standard Missile (SM), 8, 123, 125,
134, 140, 145
Standing Consultative Commission
(SCC), 29
START (Strategic Arms Reductions
Talks), 49
START I (1st Strategic Arms Reduction
Treaty), 49, 143 44, 146, 151, 156
START II (2nd Strategic Arms
Reduction Treaty), 62, 72, 144
Star Wars. See Strategic Defense
Strategic Arms Reductions Talks
(START), 49
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
(START II), 62, 72, 144
Strategic Command, U.S., 6
Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI),
35 49, 52, 69
Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO), 37, 38, 41 43, 47, 48,
49, 52, 55. See also Ballistic Missile
Defense Organization
Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty
(SORT), 72, 80, 86, 136, 143
Strike, as first/preemptive/retaliatory,
5, 7, 11, 22
Supplementary status of forces agreements (SOFA), 92, 94, 145

Taiwan, China v. U.S. over, 104 7, 148
Talbott, Strobe, 14, 23, 46, 63
Tallinn antimissile system, 20, 21
Talos missile, 13
Technology, U.S., 2 3, 8, 27, 35, 37, 39,
42 47, 56, 69, 94, 97, 113, 130, 152,
Teller, Edward, 18, 33 34, 42, 48
Terrorism, war on, 2, 66, 71, 155
Theater high-altitude area defense
system (THAAD), 66, 67 68, 69, 89,
91, 93, 107, 113, 119, 122, 125 27,
129, 130 31, 134, 147, 150, 156
Theater missile defense (TMD), 55 56,
Thielmann, Greg, 61, 97
Third Site systems, 81 82, 84 85, 90.
See also Czech Republic, BMD sites
in; Poland, BMD sites in; Romania,
ABM in
TMD (theater missile defense), 55 56,
TRW, 48, 75 76
U-2 reconnaissance aircraft, 15
Uncertainties Remain Concerning
the Airborne Lasers Cost and Military Utility (Levin, R.E.), 128
Union of Concerned Scientists. See
Concerned Scientists, Union of
United Nations, Security Council of,
53 54, 100, 108 9
United States (U.S.): ABM Treaty by,
2, 7, 9, 23 29, 31 32, 35 36, 43 44,
52, 54, 56, 57, 61 63, 66, 68 69,
71 72, 79, 86, 157; advancement in
technology by, 2 3, 35, 152; allies
of, 6; armed services of, 1, 4, 10 17,
20 21, 30, 46, 66, 90, 92, 94, 140, 145;
arms race for, 6 7, 11, 15, 19 20,
36, 79, 104 5; BMD and public
in, 2 3; Cold War for, 1, 7, 11 12,
47 48, 56, 72, 90, 91, 145; Congress
of, 62 63; defense of, 35; global
influence of, 6; JCS for, 13, 17 18,
23, 24, 49; 9/11 attack on, 2, 66, 71;
North Korean sanctions and, 97, 98;
State Department of, 68; Strategic
Command of, 6; Taiwan and, 104 7,
148; technology for, 2 3, 8, 27, 35,

37, 39, 42 47, 56, 69, 94, 97, 113,
130, 152, 153; tensions between
Russia and, 83, 86 87, 89 91, 151,
156 57; terrorist threat to, 2, 5; War
Department under, 11
Vienna Conference, 16
Vulnerability, as mutual. See Mutual
Assured Destruction
Waller, Douglas C., 38, 42
Wallop, Malcolm, 33 34, 42
War Department, U.S., Equipment
Board under, 11
Warsaw Pact, 47
Weapons: countermeasure for, 1, 10; of
mass destruction, 5, 95; as nuclear,
1, 5, 6, 13, 17, 25, 33, 70, 96; in space,
6 7, 73

Weinberger, Caspar, 33, 34, 37, 38, 41,
42 43, 46, 47 48
Weisner, Jerome, 15, 17, 18 19, 23
Welch, Larry, 60, 65
Wheeler, Earle G., 17 18
White House Council on Science, 34
Whiteman Air Force Base, 29 30
WMD (weapons of mass destruction),
5, 95
Wohlstetter, Albert, 18, 23
Wolfowitz, Paul, 23, 60, 68, 69, 72
World War II, V-1/V-2 missiles
during, 10
X-band, as radar, 64, 67, 69, 82, 88, 119,
136. See also Radar
Yeltsin, Boris, 53, 62, 70, 80
York, Herbert, 17, 18 19

About the Author

RICHARD DEAN BURNS is professor emeritus and former chair of the
Department of History at California State University, Los Angeles. He has
authored and edited more than a dozen books and two dozen in-depth
articles covering arms control, diplomatic history, international law, and
American foreign policy. He most recently authored The Evolution of Arms
Control (2009). A bibliographer, essayist, and editor, Burns has long been involved in preparing reference books such as the internationally recognized
A Guide to American Foreign Relations Since 1770 (1983) and the critically acclaimed 20th century presidential bibliography series. Dr. Burns designed
and edited a three-volume Encyclopedia of Arms Control and Disarmament
(1993) that also received two national awards, coedited the three-volume
Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy, second edition (2002), and edited a
three-volume Chronological History of United States Foreign Relations (2002)
and a Cold War Chronology, 19171992 (2005).