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Missile Defense

September 8, 2000 • Volume 10, Issue 30
Should the U.S. build a missile defense system?
By Mary H. Cooper

Introduction

A ground-based interceptor built by the Boeing Corp. for the National Missile Defense system undergoes testing over the Pacific Ocean. (Photo Credit: Boeing Corp.)
A ground-based interceptor built by the Boeing Corp. for the National Missile Defense system undergoes testing over the Pacific Ocean. (Photo Credit: Boeing Corp.)

It's been almost two decades since President Ronald Reagan first proposed erecting a space-based shield to defend the United States from a Soviet nuclear missile attack. The 1983 Strategic Defense Initiative, dubbed “Star Wars” by its critics, was quietly set aside when the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991, ending the Cold War nuclear arms race between the two superpowers. But research on missile defense systems continued, spurred by alarm over missile development by new potential adversaries and the prospect of an accidental launch by Russia. The Clinton administration is pursuing a more limited program to defend the U.S. But critics say the proposed National Missile Defense system isn't needed, won't work, violates the landmark 1972 ABM Treaty -- and may even spark a new arms race.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Missile Defense
Sep. 08, 2000  Missile Defense
Sep. 19, 1986  Science Wars Over Star Wars
Feb. 15, 1967  Anti-Missile Defense Systems
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Defense Technology and Force Planning
International Law and Agreements
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