Feasibility Evaluation of Employing a Sea-Based Adjunct to the United States' National Missile Defense Strategy   [open pdf - 7MB]

Germany's development and employment of the V-2 rocket in World War II ushered in a new ERA in warfare. During the Cold War, mutual assured destruction (MAD) was a key precept of both United States and Soviet Union strategic nuclear deterrence stategies. With the Cold War over, concern over the rapid proliferation of weapons of mass destruction amongst Third World rogue nations and the threat of an accidental or unauthorized ballistic missile attack has overtaken concern for an intentional nuclear attack by the former Soviet Union. Significant congressional legislative efforts have led the Department of Defense to develop a national missile defense (NMD) strategy employing ground- based interceptor missiles to defend all fifty states from a limited ballistic missile attack. This thesis shows that a sea-based adjunct to a land-based system would be operationally and technically feasible, and it would provide significantly enhanced defensive capabilities over a land-based only NMD system. This study also uses legal treaty interpretation methods to show that the deployment of any NMD system would require modification to or withdrawal from the ABM Treaty. And if the United States decides to pursue modifications to the ABM Treaty, this thesis recommends they include allowances for sea-based NMD systems.

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