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The Missile Defense Controversy

The Missile Defense Controversy: Technology in Search of a Mission

ERNEST J. YANARELLA
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 288
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2jcrcd
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  • Book Info
    The Missile Defense Controversy
    Book Description:

    " This revised and updated edition identifies the cultural factors and specific administrative agendas that have shaped the way we view ballistic missile technology. Three new sections connect our recent, sudden shifts in foreign policy to ongoing historical patterns. Whether cautioning against the "almost neurotic pursuit of absolute security" or examining the powerful influence of religion on military buildup, Ernest J.Yanarella uncovers the deeply ingrained attitudes that will determine the future of American missile defense.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-2809-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-12)

    The decision by the George W. Bush administration in early 2001 to proceed with alacrity toward developing and deploying a ballistic missile defense was the culmination of a defense decision-making process rooted in the 1950s at the height of the cold war. Yet few are now aware of the first controversy from 1955 to 1972 and how it set the stage for the second public debate, which was triggered by Ronald Reagan’s famous “Star Wars” speech on March 23, 1983. This ignorance is hardly surprising to American historians or cultural critics. That Americans as a people seem particularly prone to...

  5. 1 DEFENSE POLITICS IN THE EISENHOWER YEARS
    (pp. 13-25)

    Governmental decision-making does not occur in a political or institutional vacuum. Besides the constitutional limitations imposed upon public decision-makers, a vast range of constraints operate to circumscribe the latitude of choice available to officials. Among these limiting features are included the force of tradition, the sanctions of bureaucratic rules and procedures, the norms generated by the institutional subculture, as well as the guiding principles and policies of the electoral process. Defense decision-making on military strategy and weapons programs in the United States is no exception.

    While the Defense Department has been relatively immune from traditional limits and constitutional restraints, the...

  6. 2 THE ARMY GETS A MISSION
    (pp. 26-42)

    On January 16, 1958, Secretary of Defense Neil McElroy forwarded directives to the Departments of the Army and the Air Force setting forth their specific responsibilities concerning the development of an ABM system, as well as indicating the role that the newly created Advanced Research Projects Agency would play in the further progress of this weapons system. To the army, authority was given to:

    continue development effort in the Nike-Zeus program as a matter of urgency, concentrating on system development, that will demonstrate the feasibility of achieving an effective, active AICBM system in an electronic counter measure and decoy environment....

  7. 3 McNAMARA’S TWIN “REVOLUTION” IN DEFENSE DECISION-MAKING
    (pp. 43-59)

    In his first two years as secretary of defense, Robert S. McNamara is considered to have effected a revolution in the decision-making apparatus and strategic outlook in the Department of Defense. This revolution, it is generally claimed, was a double revolution influencing the administration and management of national defense and the conceptualization of strategic doctrine.¹ While the administrative and strategic changes brought into the Defense Department by McNamara and instituted by him over his seven-year tenure of office may have captured the imagination of many political and corporate elites on all levels of administration in succeeding years, it is inaccurate...

  8. 4 ZEUS DENIED
    (pp. 60-78)

    Throughout 1959 and 1960 the army continued to advance arguments for early deployment of its Zeus ABM system, only to be rebuffed on each occasion. In 1959 it recommended $1.3 billion for Zeus for fiscal 1960, of which $300 million would go to further R&D and $700 million would be applied to tooling, production facilities, and construction of several Nike-Zeus bases. This total budget request, in the end, was pared by the administration to $300 million.¹ The following year, the debate centered on the question of whether the system should be produced and deployed before R&D test results were known....

  9. 5 EXIT ZEUS, ENTER NIKE-X
    (pp. 79-101)

    In his annual posture statement for fiscal 1964, Robert McNamara disclosed that several major decisions relating to Zeus and the ABM issue had been determined. A thorough technical review conducted by OSD during the preceding year had led to the conclusion that the Nike-Zeus system in its present state would not be able to deal effectively with the sophisticated Soviet threat anticipated in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As a consequence, four major improvements which could be incorporated into the present Zeus design were suggested: use of the Zeus discrimination radar as a high-volume, lower-accuracy target tracker; alteration of...

  10. 6 INTERLUDE: FROM NIKE-X TO SENTINEL
    (pp. 102-119)

    In 1964, despite the appearance of evidence indicating Soviet development of an ABM defense, a decision by the United States to deploy an ABM system seemed far off. Any decision to produce and deploy Nike-X (or some other advanced ABM system configuration) appeared to be contingent on satisfactory solution of a number of basic problems and issues: remaining technical problems relating to system development, testing, and evaluation would have to be resolved; economic analysis would have to be made; political issues, such as the passage by Congress of an ancillary civil defense program, would have to be confronted; and the...

  11. 7 THE DECISION TO DEPLOY
    (pp. 120-142)

    On September 18, 1967, Robert McNamara delivered one of the most momentous speeches in the history of ABM before the editors of United Press International in San Francisco.¹ In the course of that speech, the following basic tenets of his vision were enunciated and defended: 1) that an assured destruction capability, not a counterforce doctrine or a combination of assured destruction and damage-limiting capabilities, was “the very essence of the whole deterrence concept”; 2) that the United States and the Soviet Union could deter each other and that this condition of mutual deterrence provided both countries with the strongest possible...

  12. 8 SAFEGUARD, SALT, AND THE McNAMARA HERITAGE
    (pp. 143-186)

    The year 1968 was marked by continued efforts within the Johnson administration to stimulate agreement with the Soviet government upon negotiations over strategic arms reductions in offensive and defensive weapons systems.¹ It was also a period characterized by the administration’s attempts to avoid strong pressures to move beyond the limited Sentinel program to a full-scale Soviet-oriented ABM system, as well as to block an incipient movement inside Congress (primarily the Senate) working for a legislative cut in funding for ABM. A presidential election year, 1968 was a period where an incumbent president withdrew, the Democratic party’s nominee strove to assume...

  13. 9 SHIELD OF DREAMS: THE PERSISTENCE OF BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE
    (pp. 187-216)

    With the negotiation and ratification of the ABM Treaty by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1972, ballistic missile defense as national policy all but faded from the political scene. Working within the provisions of the SALT accords, the Soviet Union and then the United States each deployed an individual ABM site—one around Leningrad and the other near Grand Forks, North Dakota. But the idea of a defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles, the dream of security from the threat of nuclear attack, did not die. Like a temporarily neutralized virus or a repressed desire, it lay seemingly...

  14. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 217-238)

    This work has sought to illuminate one particular aspect of the history and politics of national security policy and arms control negotiations in the United States: the controversy over whether the United States should deploy ballistic missile defenses. The preponderant weight of this analysis has been oriented to examining the trajectory of the first ABM debate, spanning from the mid-1950s through its culmination in the U.S.-Soviet treaty of 1972. The blocking of the defensive realm in strategic weapons innovation and the integration of ABM into an overarching deterrence strategy by the two superpowers were two outstanding achievements of these accords....

  15. NOTES
    (pp. 239-268)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 269-277)