Defending America

Defending America: The Case for Limited National Missile Defense

James M. Lindsay
Michael E. O’Hanlon
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    Defending America
    Book Description:

    Arms control and missile defense are once again at the forefront of the American national security agenda. Not surprisingly, the debate has broken down along well-worn lines. Arms control advocates dismiss the idea of missile defense as a dangerous and costly folly. Missile defense advocates argue that the U.S. should move aggressively to defend itself against missile attack. With clear and lively prose free of partisan rhetoric, Defending America provides reliable, factual analysis of the missile defense debate. Written for a general audience, it assesses the current and likely future missile threat to the United States, examines relevant technologies, and suggests how America's friends and foes would react to a decision to build a national missile defense. Lindsay and O'Hanlon reject calls for large-scale systems as well as proposals to do nothing, instead arguing for a limited national missile defense.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-9867-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)
    Michael H. Armacost

    Should the united states deploy a national missile defense? This is one of the most important policy questions facing President George W. Bush. His decisions on missile defense will have potentially enormous consequences for America’s security and international affairs.

    The United States has never had a nationwide defense against missile attack. That raises questions about whether the United States will someday, out of fear of reprisal against its homeland, be deterred from projecting power abroad or at least from considering certain military options. Meanwhile, since the Pentagon’s last major policy plan, the 1997 quadrennial defense review, the potential ballistic missile...

  4. Preface to the Paperback Edition
    (pp. xi-xxiv)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxv-xxviii)
  6. CHAPTER ONE Defending America
    (pp. 1-28)

    Should the united states build a national missile defense (NMD) to protect the American people, and possibly key allies as well, against attack by long-range ballistic missiles? President Bill Clinton’s September 2000 announcement that he was deferring the decision on whether to deploy an NMD system puts this question squarely on the Bush administration’s agenda. The United States currently has no nationwide defense against missile attack. Should President Bush fulfill his campaign pledge to “build effective missile defenses, based on the best available options, at the earliest possible date,” the decision will have potentially seismic consequences for both American national...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Missile Defense: Concepts and Systems
    (pp. 29-49)

    The basic ideas behind how missile defense systems operate are not particularly complex. But it is important to have a clear mental picture of how ballistic missiles, and technologies designed to counter them, function. This chapter provides that background information, with a number of graphics, illustrating the main concepts.

    Ballistic missiles are rockets designed to accelerate to fast enough speeds so that they can fly relatively long distances before falling back to earth. They are first accelerated by the combustion of some type of fuel, after which they simply follow an unpowered—or ballistic—trajectory. They consist, most basically, of...

  8. CHAPTER THREE The Threat
    (pp. 50-81)

    Does the united states confront a threat that justifies building a national missile defense? Although claims are frequently made that ballistic missiles are rapidly proliferating around the world, the current and likely future missile threat to the U.S. homeland comes from only five countries: Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. The first two already have long-range missiles and nuclear weapons; the others might acquire both during the next fifteen years. The nuclear powers India and Pakistan might also join the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) club in the coming decade, though few see their missile programs as a threat to...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR Missile Defense Programs and Architectures
    (pp. 82-115)

    If a national missile defense makes sense in theory, what kind of system is most likely to provide prudent protection at a reasonable budgetary cost? Should the system be based on land, at sea, in the air, or in space? How many interceptors or other defensive weapons should be deployed and at how many sites? And how many years would it take to develop and deploy a system? This chapter provides technical background to answer these questions. It does so by examining several basic types of NMD technologies and concepts. Chapter 5 presents the strategic and diplomatic dimensions of the...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE The International Politics of Missile Defense
    (pp. 116-141)

    The decision on whether to proceed with national missile defense involves more than assessing the threat and evaluating the feasibility of competing architectures. It also involves weighing the consequences that a national missile defense (NMD) deployment might have on international politics and America’s interests abroad. It is not overstating things to say that missile defense has become, perhaps even more than it deserves to be, a matter of great interest around the globe. It is also true that a U.S. decision to deploy a national missile defense could cause more harm than good for U.S. security. For example, Americans might...

  11. CHAPTER SIX Missile Defense and American Security
    (pp. 142-168)

    Should the united states build a national missile defense? Critics have advanced many thoughtful arguments for saying no: the threat to the United States comes from only a handful of countries, most of which are probably not now close to having operational intercontinental missiles; the United States cannot yet build a fully functioning NMD system; enemies could attack the United States in ways that do not require long-range missiles; and NMD could jeopardize arms control and related efforts such as the Nunn-Lugar cooperative threat reduction program intended to secure nuclear warheads and materials within Russia.

    But in the end five...

  12. APPENDIX A Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and Related Documents
    (pp. 169-192)
  13. APPENDIX B Excerpts from the DCI National Intelligence Estimate
    (pp. 193-196)
  14. APPENDIX C Excerpts from the 1998 Rumsfeld Commission Report
    (pp. 197-217)
  15. APPENDIX D Excerpts from the 1999 National Intelligence Estimate
    (pp. 218-226)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 227-246)
  17. Index
    (pp. 247-258)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 259-259)