National Missile Defense (NMD) -- Has Its Time Come?   [open pdf - 7MB]

The issue over deploying national missile defense (NMD) to counter strategic ballistic missiles has been on going since the 1950's. During the Cold War, the debate shifted from considering the viability of deploying territorial defense to counter the Soviet threat to one of agreement by both superpowers to limit missile defenses for fear they would undermine strategic stability and increase the chances for nuclear war. Without missile defenses, it was understood that the populations of both countries would be subject to mutual assured destruction (MAD) should a nuclear war ever break out between the sides. With the Cold War over, the debate has shifted once again. The issue is whether or not the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their delivery systems warrants a reevaluation of Cold War arguments against NMD and MAD. Contrary to the views of the current administration, the author outlines that NMD deployment is needed now more than ever for the United States to effectively operate in the 21st Century and to ensure the American population is never again threatened by direct attack.

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