Attack Operations Pillar of Theater Missile Defense: The Need For a Joint Effort   [open pdf - 865KB]

"The threat of a theater ballistic missile attack against military forces of the United States turned from theory to reality the evening of January 18, 1991. That night Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein launched the first of eighty-six SCUD missiles against Saudi Arabia and Israel. The launching of the ballistic missiles exposed a major weakness of the United States military. As a result, significant efforts to develop a defense against ballistic missile attack have been a high priority mission for the Department of Defense (DOD). The DOD ballistic missile defense focuses on two aspects - theater missile defend (TMD) and national missile defense. The first priority of the ballistic missile defense initiative is 'the rapid development and deployment of theater missile defense to protect forward deployed U S and allied forces and allied population centers.' National missile defense, the second priority, provides for security against a strategic missile threat to the mainland of the United States. Theater missile defense is composed of four pillars: battle management command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (8M/C41); passive defense; active defense; and attack operations. This paper analyzes the feasibility of conducting attack operations as a pillar of the TMD concept. A look at the world wide missile threat and the continuing proliferation points to an increased threat in the future. Next, an examination of the U S military's current attack operations doctrine shows it is woefully short. While great strides were made in developing attack operations doctrine, much work remains to integrate the joint effort. This paper concludes by recommending a few ways to increase the synergistic effect of attack operations to destroy the enemy's theater missiles before they can destroy us."

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