Facing the Missile Challenge

Facing the Missile Challenge: U.S. Strategy and the Future of the INF Treaty

David W. Kearn
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 188
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  • Book Info
    Facing the Missile Challenge
    Book Description:

    Report assesses whether the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty continues to serve America's national interests, or whether adherence unduly constrains the U.S. ability to effectively respond to emerging security threats. Analyzes challenges confronting the United States from Iran, North Korea, India, Pakistan, and China, and considers the potential role of a future U.S. land-based, intermediate-range conventional ballistic missile system.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-7718-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-vi)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xiii-xviii)

    This study examines the question of whether the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty continues to serve the security interests of the United States more than two decades after the Treaty’s signing. Weapon systems that the Treaty explicitly prohibits, land-based intermediate-range (500 to 5,500 km) ballistic and cruise missiles—whether conventionally or nuclear-armed—have emerged as central assets in the arsenals of a number of critical regional powers. These missiles present significant threats to U.S. forces abroad and allies, begging the question: Does the United States require similar capabilities, currently proscribed under the INF Treaty, to effectively respond to these challenges?...

  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    The Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) eliminated nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km from the arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union.¹ At the time of its signing in 1987, the Treaty was a diplomatic watershed, signaling the beginning of the end of the Cold War. It has since served as a basis for the security and stability of Europe, which is a vital security interest of the United States.

    However, in the past 20 years, the security environment confronting the United States has changed. Missile proliferation, specifically missiles...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Recent History of Missile Proliferation
    (pp. 11-32)

    The proliferation of ballistic and cruise missiles confronts the United States with a significant threat to its national security interests. Since the early- to mid-1960s, Americans have lived with the threat of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking targets within the continental United States. With the end of the Cold War and the achievement of various strategic arms-control agreements with the Soviet Union and its successor states (most importantly Russia), this direct threat to U.S. national security has significantly declined over the past two decades.¹ However, during the same period, the emergence of land-based medium- and intermediate-range ballistic and cruise...

  11. CHAPTER THREE Emerging Missile Threats Facing the United States
    (pp. 33-56)

    The importance of the emergence of land-based intermediate-range missile programs is most evident in the cases of India, Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea. Intermediate-range missiles provide these states with the capability to project power at the regional level and, with access to nuclear warheads, serve as the central components of nuclear deterrent forces against their regional adversaries or perhaps conventionally superior military powers like the United States. Nonetheless, each of these programs confronts the United States with different challenges. The expansion of capabilities of India and Pakistan, and their respective utilization of intermediate-range missile programs to deliver nuclear weapons, presents...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR The Challenge of China’s Military Modernization
    (pp. 57-92)

    The People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) extensive military modernization program has already had significant implications for U.S. interests in the Western Pacific. While China has invested in the improvement and expansion of many aspects of its military forces, the development of its conventional ballistic and cruise missile programs confronts the United States with a particularly difficult challenge.¹ Not only has Beijing acquired and deployed ballistic short-range missiles in such quantities as to threaten Taiwan with a potentially disarming strike, but, increasingly, U.S. forward bases, tactical airpower, and naval assets may be at risk as conventional IRBMs and LACMs are deployed...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Political/Military Implications of a U.S. Withdrawal from the INF Treaty
    (pp. 93-114)

    This chapter considers the potential responses to a U.S. withdrawal from, or the cooperative dissolution of the INF Treaty by the United States and Russia. Specifically, it will examine the likely reactions of Russia, NATO, and U.S. allies in East Asia. Finally, the impact of a U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty will be considered in the context of the larger objective of global nonproliferation and the MTCR. While prediction in any field is difficult, the analysis presented here is built upon a rigorous evaluation of objective regional expertise of RAND and other such organizations, as well as government documents,...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Potential Ways Forward for the United States and the Future of the INF Treaty
    (pp. 115-126)

    Having examined the expected military benefits of conventional intermediate-range ballistic missile forces for U.S. forces in East Asia in addressing the growing threat of Chinese missiles, as well as the larger potential political and security implications of withdrawing from the INF Treaty, this chapter discusses potential ways forward for U.S. policymakers. Ultimately, two broad policy choices seem to emerge from the analysis up to this point: the maintenance of the status quo, in which the United States and Russia remain bound by the INF Treaty while others are free to acquire and develop such systems, and the pursuit of a...

  15. APPENDIX A The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty¹
    (pp. 127-148)
  16. APPENDIX B The Joint Russian-United States Statement on the INF Treaty¹
    (pp. 149-152)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 153-164)