"A website with close ties to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has outlined why it would be acceptable to kill all Jews and annihilate Israel."
14. What can the United States do to protect itself against tactical or long-range nuclear missiles?Submitted by MikeChalberg on Mon, 2012-03-05 13:08
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The United States has spent billions of dollars since the onset of the Cold War on building sophisticated missile defense technology. But it wasn’t until 1983 that there was a separate missile defense program. President Reagan began the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) in 1983. This plan was initially mocked as being wildly impossible, with many coining the program “Star Wars.” The effectiveness of this program continues to be widely debated, but some trials and real-world scenarios have proved successful. In his announcement of the plan, the President laid out the need for a missile defense program and its ultimate goal:
I know that all of you want peace, and so do I. I know too that many of you seriously believe that a nuclear freeze would further the cause of peace. But a freeze now would make us less, not more, secure and would raise, not reduce, the risks of war. It would be largely unverifiable and would seriously undercut our negotiations on arms reduction. It would reward the Soviets for their massive military buildup while preventing us from modernizing our aging and increasingly vulnerable forces…
I am directing a comprehensive and intensive effort to define a long-term research and development program to begin to achieve our ultimate goal of eliminating the threat posed by strategic nuclear missiles. This could pave the way for arms control measures to eliminate the weapons themselves. We seek neither military superiority nor political advantage. Our only purpose--one all people share--is to search for ways to reduce the danger of nuclear war.
Its name was changed to the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) in 1993 and is currently named the Missile Defense Agency. These programs have attempted to replace the defense ideal of mutually assured destruction (MAD).
Unfortunately, missile defense is not cheap and requires a serious investment by an country wishing to protect itself against nuclear missiles, whether launched in aggression or by accident.
If a country is willing to make the investment, the goal of missile defense technology is to be able to disable a missile at any time in its flight. For more detailed information on its capabilities, the U.S. Defense Department outlines the different missile defense strategies and technology.
Proponents of missile defense believe the following steps should be taken:
- A commitment to spend between 2 percent and 3 percent of the defense budget on ballistic missile defense;
- A consistent program of development and testing;
- A layered missile defense concept;
- A plan to expand the role of the services in ballistic missile defense;
- The development and fielding of space-based elements;
- A program for cooperation with U.S. allies; and
- Recognition that ballistic missile defense has been the least developed component of the forces necessary to protect and defend the U.S. and its allies.
For a chronology of missile defense programs, click here.