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Strategic Defenses

Strategic Defenses: Two Reports by the Office of Technology Assessment

Copyright Date: 1986
Pages: 492
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  • Book Info
    Strategic Defenses
    Book Description:

    To contribute to the worldwide debate on President Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, here are two important studies, Ballistic Missile Defense Technologies and Anti-Satellite Weapons, Countermeasures. and Arms Control.

    Originally published in 1986.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5509-4
    Subjects: Technology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vii)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. viii-viii)

    President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative has kindled a national debate over the roles of strategic offensive nuclear weapons, ballistic missile defenses, and arms control in U.S. national security policy. It has also underscored the important ramifications of U.S. military space policy.

    At the requests of the House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, OTA undertook an assessment of the opportunities and risks involved in an accelerated program of research on new ballistic missile defense technologies, including those that might lead to deployment of weapons in space. Debate over the relevant political, military, and technical issues has been...

  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Chapter 1 Executive Summary
    (pp. 3-34)

    President Reagan’s speech of March 23, 1983, renewed a national debate that had been intense in the late 1960s but much subdued since 1972. Wouldn’t the United States be more secure attempting to defend its national territory against ballistic missiles while the Soviet Union did the same? Or would it be more secure attempting to keep such defenses largely banned by agreement with the Soviet Union?

    The President posed the question,

    What if free people could live secure in the knowledge that their security did not rest upon the threat of instant retaliation to deter a Soviet attack, that we...

  5. Chapter 2 Introduction
    (pp. 37-42)

    President Reagan’s speech of March 23, 1983, proposed a major shift in U.S. nuclear strategy. For at least 25 years, since the earliest Soviet deployments of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, the United States has relied on the threat of retaliation to deter Soviet nuclear attack on the United States. During the 1960s both sides worked on developing weapons that were intended to defend against ICBMs. In the United States, a debate also arose over whether such defenses were feasible and desirable. Would the United States be more secure attempting to defend its national territory against ballistic missiles while the Soviet Union...

  6. Chapter 3 Ballistic Missile Defense Then and Now
    (pp. 45-64)

    This chapter briefly reviews events and decisions of the 1960s and early 1970s which explain why the United States does not now have ballistic missile defense. It pays particular attention to the rationale of the Johnson and Nixon Administrations for ultimately declining to deploy large-scale ballistic missile defense and instead agreeing with the Soviets to severely limit it. The chapter also describes the positions of those who subsequently supported or questioned the desirability of U.S. adherence to that agreement.

    With that debate over values and premises as background, the chapter then recounts some of the factors that produced the renewal...

  7. Chapter 4 Deterrence, U.S. Nuclear Strategy, and BMD
    (pp. 67-90)

    Depending on how the policies and forces of the United States and the Soviet Union changed to accommodate it, the introduction of ballistic missile defenses into our military posture could well represent a major shift in national strategy. Alternatively, it might only be an incremental adjustment. To understand the role that BMD can play in national strategy, we must first understand what our present strategy is. We can then ask whether or how ballistic missile defenses might address some of the problems that have so far been identified with our strategy—or whether it might enable adoption of a strategy...

  8. Chapter 5 BMD Capabilities and the Strategic Balance
    (pp. 93-116)

    Since the President’s March 23,1983, speech there has been much discussion of the strategic implications of the steps along the way to his goal. In that speech he announced his “… ultimate goal of eliminating the threat posed by strategic nuclear missiles,” while recalling the need to “… remain constant in preserving the nuclear deterrent and preserving a solid capability for flexible response.”¹ He also warned that the pairing of offensive and defensive systems “can be viewed as fostering an aggressive policy.”

    Among those who see potential value in developing BMD there Eire some who argue that only a realistic...

  9. Chapter 6 Crisis Stability, Arms Race Stability, and Arms Control Issues
    (pp. 119-136)

    The preceding chapters discussed how adding ballistic missile defense to U.S. forces might affect U.S. strategy. This chapter will address the relation of BMD deployments to three other force posture issues: crisis stability, arms race stability, and arms control.Crisis stabilityis the degree to which strategic force characteristics might, in a crisis situation, reduce incentives to initiate the use of nuclear weapons.Arms race stabilityinvolves the effect of planned deployments on the scope and pace of the arms race.Arms controlhas been pursued in the past as a way of trying to enhance these two kinds of...

  10. Chapter 7 Ballistic Missile Defense Technologies
    (pp. 139-194)

    This chapter and chapter 8 describe the technologies applicable to ballistic missile defense and point out some of the uncertainties that further research may hope to resolve. Ballistic missile defense technologies and ballistic missile defense policies, of course, are interdependent. BMD policy choices, the subject of the preceding chapters of this report, are constrained by the state of our technology. At the same time, however, policy decisions influence technological advances by providing (or withholding) resources and incentives to extend our knowledge and capabilities.¹

    The overall feasibility of ballistic missile defense technologies involves a set of related issues which become increasingly...

  11. Chapter 8 Feasibility
    (pp. 197-218)

    As a way of illustrating the scope and the nature of the technical and operational feasibility issues, this chapter hypothesizes an imaginary system architecture. Since an official proposed architecture does not yet exist, the following system is presented as a structure which is at least plausible enough for illustrative purposes. We do not suggest or predict that all or even any of its parts can or will actually be proposed or built.

    The example described is not intended to be definitive or exhaustive. We suggest it to convey a feeling for the nature of the problems to be resolved in...

  12. Chapter 9 Alternative Future Scenarios
    (pp. 221-236)

    Thus far we have examined the possible applications of ballistic missile defense to various strategic purposes and the potential effects of BMD deployments on crisis stability, arms race stability, and arms control. We then examined the technologies that might be applied to ballistic missile defense. In this chapter we attempt to give the flavor of the current debate over BMD by presenting the positions of some major policy advocates. We pay particular attention to the idea oftransition—of how and with what consequences we might move toward a world where BMD plays an important strategic role. We also look...

  13. Chapter 10 Alternative R&D Programs
    (pp. 239-260)

    In previous chapters, this report has addressed the potential contributions and liabilities of ballistic missile defenses, and it has primarily discussed the long-term issues associated with developing and deploying BMD. However, technologies now within the state of the art are capable of providing only limited BMD capability. More effective BMD systems cannot be developed without further research and technology development.

    This chapter discusses research programs to investigate the possibilities for acquiring more advanced BMD systems. It presents a number of different potential strategies for pursuing BMD research, describes some characteristics by which alternative R&D programs can be compared, and outlines...

  14. Appendix A Ballistic Missile Defense and the ABM Treaty
    (pp. 263-271)
  15. Appendix B Texts of the 1972 ABM Treaty, Its Agreed Interpretations, and Its 1976 Protocol
    (pp. 272-282)
  16. Appendix C Effects of BMD Deployment on Existing Arms Control Treaties
    (pp. 283-284)
  17. Appendix D Defense Requirements for Assured Survival
    (pp. 285-289)
  18. Appendix E Defense Capability Levels and U.S. Strategy Choices
    (pp. 290-291)
  19. Appendix F BMD and the Military R&D Budget
    (pp. 292-293)
  20. Appendix G Studies of the High Frontier Global Ballistic Missile Defense I
    (pp. 294-296)
  21. Appendix H Excerpts From Statements on BMD by Reagan Administration Officials
    (pp. 297-307)
  22. Appendix I List of Reagan Administration Statements on BMD
    (pp. 308-309)
  23. Appendix J Articles by Critics of the Strategic Defense Initiative
    (pp. 310-311)
  24. Appendix K Excerpts From Soviet Statements on BMD
    (pp. 312-315)
  25. Appendix L References on Strategic Nuclear Policy
    (pp. 316-319)
  26. Appendix M References on Soviet Strategic Policy
    (pp. 320-320)
  27. Appendix N Glossary of Acronyms and Terms
    (pp. 321-326)
  28. Middle Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  29. Foreword
    (pp. iii-iii)

    At the requests of the House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, OTA undertook an assessment of the opportunities and risks involved in an accelerated program of research on new ballistic missile defense technologies, including those that might lead to deployment of weapons in space. The resulting report,Ballistic Missile Defense Technologies, is being published concurrently with this volume. This report onAnti-Satellite Weapons, Countermeasures, and Arms Controldiscusses additional implications of the same or similar technologies.

    Closely related to BMD technology, system survivability, and arms control issues are questions about the development and deployment of anti-satellite...

  30. Glossary of Acronyms and Terms
    (pp. iv-ix)
  31. Contents
    (pp. x-x)
  32. Chapter 1 Executive Summary
    (pp. 3-22)

    For over two decades the United States and the Soviet Union have used satellites for military purposes. As a result of recent technological advances, military satellites will soon be able to play a more significant role in terrestrial conflicts. These space assets will be able to supply more types of information, more rapidly, to more diverse locations. Some will carry out target acquisition, tracking, and kill assessment functions, thus operating more directly than before as components of weapons systems.

    This growing military utility also makes satellites attractive targets for opposing military forces. Both the Soviet Union and the United States...

  33. Chapter 2 Anti-Satellite Weapons, Countermeasures, and Arms Control
    (pp. 25-30)

    This report examines the issues raised by the development of weapons capable of attacking objects stationed in space. It analyzes the military utility of space systems, describes the technical characteristics and military value of anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, and discusses the effectiveness of a number of satellite defenses and technical countermeasures. Finally, the report examines how various levels of ASAT arms control might contribute to U.S. national security when combined with various survivability measures and various levels of ASAT development and deployment.

    Believing that the development of weapons capable of attacking missiles in flight or objects in space would likely have...

  34. Chapter 3 MILSATs, ASATs, and National Security
    (pp. 33-46)

    Satellites are used for a variety of military applications by the United states, the U.S.S.R., and—in smaller numbers—by several other nations. Most military satellites (MILSATs) perform nondestructive functions. For example, Soviet military satellites are used for meteorological surveillance, surveillance of ballistic missile launch areas to provide rapid warning of possible missile attack, relaying of radio communications to distant force elements, optical and radar reconnaissance of foreign force dispositions on land and at sea, interception of foreign radio communications and radar signals, transmission of radionavigation signals, and logistic support for space systems.¹ Even though these functions are nondestructive and...

  35. Chapter 4 ASAT Capabilities and Countermeasures
    (pp. 49-88)

    A variety of technological options are available for space surveillance systems, stand-off weapons, and weapon and sensor platforms for anti-satellite uses. Current and projected U.S. and Soviet ASAT capabilities, including space surveillance capabilities, are described in the first section of this chapter. More advanced ASAT capabilities which could be deployed by the United States or the U.S.S.R. are described in the second section of this chapter. Some possible U.S. responses to Soviet development of such capabilities are described in the third section of this chapter. The principal conclusions about ASAT capabilities and countermeasures are summarized in the final section of...

  36. Chapter 5 ASAT Arms Control: History
    (pp. 91-102)

    This chapter discusses the constraints on ASAT development imposed by the treaties and agreements currently in force. It also briefly examines the history of ASAT weapons development and deployment, and describes the previous attempt by the United States and the Soviet Union to conclude a treaty further restricting such weapons. The issue of ASAT weapons and ASAT arms control, a politically volatile topic, has stimulated considerable interest in the U.S. Congress over the last several years; this chapter also discusses the history of the major pieces of legislation in the 97th, 98th, and 99th Congresses (1981-85) which concerned ASAT negotiations...

  37. Chapter 6 ASAT Arms Control: Options
    (pp. 105-122)

    This chapter explores how various ASAT arms control provisions might affect the long-term national security interests of the United States. The interaction between these arms control provisions and the unilateral satellite survivability measures that the United States might pursue is discussed in greater detail in chapter 7. Four types of arms control are presented below: restrictions on ASAT testing, possession, use, and “rules of the road” for space. Each of these provisions is described and an assessment is given of its ability to protect U.S. space assets and contribute to other long-term U.S. goals. Potential conflicts between ASAT arms control...

  38. Chapter 7 Comparative Evaluation of ASAT Policy Options
    (pp. 125-142)

    Over the next 5 years, the United States will have to make key decisions regarding research and development programs for anti-satellite weapons and countermeasures and for ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems. In addition, the United States must also consider whether it wishes to seek agreement with the Soviet Union to halt or limit the development of certain weapons that would operate from space or against space objects. This chapter analyzes the relationships between offensive and defensive weapons programs and arms control. In so doing, it utilizes the technology discussions contained in chapters 3 and 4 and the discussions of arms...

  39. Appendix A: Text of the 1983 Soviet Draft Treaty on the Prohibition of the Use of Force in Outer Space and From Space Against the Earth
    (pp. 145-146)