5. What does an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack look like?

More FAQs in:

Nuclear weapons were originally delivered simply by an airplane. The nuclear warhead was attached to a “gravity bomb” which would explode on impact. This is still a feasible means of delivery and a potential threat to the United States. Any of the three main types of missiles (tactical, theater and ICBM) can be delivered with a nuclear warhead attached. Though technologically more difficult to deliver, these missiles can be launched quickly, travel extremely fast and are very difficult to stop. At this point, if such a missile were launched at the United States there would be a strong probability that it would successfully detonate.

A nuclear detonation could take place at high-altitude which would cause an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) to spread out across much of the United States, likely shutting down all unprotected electronic devices in its path. If an EMP attack were to take place, it's quite likely that a large part of our food, water, and health care networks would be partially or entirely crippled because of our high-dependency upon electronics. As such, an EMP could lead to many millions of deaths. To learn more about EMPs, click the image below:


 For more information on EMPs, please refer to the Intellectual Takeout EMP library topic and FAQ.

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Library Topic: Missile Defense

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"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."

"The U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project was completed in August 1998 and resulted in the book Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940 edited by Stephen I. Schwartz. These project pages should be considered historical."

"It is feared that the covert Club-K missile attack system could prove 'game-changing' in fighting wars with small countries, which would gain a remote capacity to mount multiple missiles on boats, trucks or railways.

Iran and Venezuela have already shown an interest in the Club-K Container Missile System which could allow them to carry out pre-emptive strikes from behind an enemy's...

President Obama sent a letter to Russian President Medvedev raising the possibility of stopping the deployment of a missile defense system in Eastern Europe if Russia helps prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

"The Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) is a complex system of elements and supporting efforts. The integration of these many elements will enable a robust, layered defense to defend against a hostile missile in all phases of flight."

Former Senator Cranston argues that missile defense does not provide the ability to protect against a large scale first strike, but rather the ability to launch one.

"The U.S. nuclear arsenal, the most powerful but indiscriminate class of weapons ever created, is set to undergo the costliest overhaul in its history, even as the military faces spending cuts to its conventional arms programs at a time of fiscal crisis."

"Since President Obama took office, the White House has systematically undercut comprehensive missile defense and thereby placed the U.S. homeland at greater risk. On February 1, the Administration released its Ballistic Missile Defense Review Report. The report indicates that it will continue to pursue a less-than-robust effort to protect the American homeland against long-range missile...

"Defense Secretary Leon Panetta chided congressional dysfunction and warned that cutting $450 billion in defense spending would take the Pentagon 'to the edge' at a hearing on Thursday punctuated by anti-war protests."

"President George W. Bush announced Thursday that the United States is pulling out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, over Russia's objections, in order to deploy a missile defense system.

'I have concluded the ABM treaty hinders our government's ability to develop ways to protect our people from future terrorist or rogue state missile attacks,' Bush announced in the White House...

"The updated and expanded edition includes new chapters exploring dramatic developments in Iran, North Korea, Iraq and Libya and the status of the nuclear black market. The book details North Korea’s nuclear program, including estimates of their nuclear arsenal, the forty-year history of their nuclear activities and assesses U.S. and international efforts to end Pyongyang’s program. Deadly...

"This chart describes all of the Strategic Nuclear Bombs designed to be carried by aircraft. It does not include those carried by the various missiles, nor the many nuclear shells designed for use by army artillery."

"The debate surrounding U.S. development and deployment of a national missile defense (NMD) system is not new. From the humble beginnings of the V-2 rocket in 1944 to the land, air, and sea-based NMD systems of tomorrow, this chronology will give you a sense of the history of the debate."

In a recent Wall Street Journal commentary, Vice President Joe Biden argued that the Senate could ratify the New START nuclear deal with Russia with confidence.

"A Russian company is marketing a devastating new cruise missile system which can be hidden inside a shipping container, giving any merchant vessel the capability to wipe out an aircraft carrier.

Potential customers for the formidable Club-K system include Kremlin allies Iran and Venezuela, say defense experts. They worry that countries could pass on the satellite-guided missiles, which...

The threat of a ballistic missile attack is not solely a problem of the United States. This article argues that it is important to have the ability to protect our allies as well as ourselves.

"A comparison of nuclear weapons stockpiles by state or country."

"Within a few years, that flying object overhead might not be a bird or a plane, but an unmanned aircraft. Drones, perhaps best known for their combat missions in Afghanistan, are increasingly looking to share room in U.S. skies with passenger planes. And that's prompting safety concerns."

"In the final season of the TV show '24,' an idealistic president finds herself sacrificing her principles one by one in an attempt to preserve a 'peace process.' She eventually manages to hammer out a flawed treaty, but can’t bring herself to sign it. In the real world, the Obama administration's overly idealistic pursuit of a reduction in American and Russian stockpiles of nuclear arms has...

"Last week, I was in Berlin to testify before the Disarmament Subcommittee of the German Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee on the future of the U.S. B61 nuclear bombs in Europe (see my prepared remarks and fact sheet).

One of the B61 bombs currently deployed in Europe is scheduled for an upgrade to extend its life and add new military capabilities and use-control features. The work...

"Politicians often say that the United States faces a growing threat from ballistic missiles. Yet by most measures, the threat has steadily declined over the past 20 years. There are far fewer missiles in the world today than there were 20 years ago, fewer states with missile programs, and fewer hostile missiles aimed at the United States. Thankfully, the House Armed Services Strategic Forces...

The Heritage Foundation's Missile Defense Study Teams and Commission on Missile Defense have concluded that it is imperative for the safety of America that a global ballistic missile defense system be deployed first from the sea and then from space.

"The missile defense favored by President Bush - a shield of global reach rather than covering only U.S. territory - bears a striking resemblance to the approach his father's Pentagon was pursuing a decade ago. The Clinton administration quickly killed it.

Bush will outline his intentions for missile defense in a speech Tuesday that aides say will link the concept to his desire for...

"For Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the possibilities of the UAV's evolution from today's design to tomorrow's vision can't come soon enough. This portends more UAVs, digital versus analog, better technology, combat-capable and cognitive functions."

"The history of U.S. missile defense efforts spans over six decades. These resources are presented with a description of the missile defense efforts of the time in the hopes that the context will help illuminate the content of these documents."

"U.S. policymakers agree that as possible terrorist attacks go, the worst-case-scenario would involve detonation of a nuclear bomb in a major American city. This most catastrophic of scenarios provides ample fodder for the plot of television dramas, but the actual likelihood of such an event is open to debate.

Michael A. Levi CFR Fellow for Science and Technology and author of the...

"In the midst of heated debate over nuclear proliferation, missile defense and the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Rendall strongly criticizes U.S. policy on the issue as well as several mainstream publications for their bias in blindly backing Washington's policies."

"Iran has been a non-nuclear weapon state party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) since 1970, and has possessed a nuclear program for more than fifty years, ostensibly for peaceful purposes. The nuclear program has advanced significantly in the past decade with Iran's decision to enrich its own uranium. Tehran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment and its...

"Iran is not only covertly developing nuclear weapons, it is already testing ballistic missiles specifically designed to destroy America’s technical infrastructure, effectively neutralizing the world’s lone superpower, say U.S. intelligence sources, top scientists and western missile industry experts.

The radical Shiite regime has conducted successful tests to determine if its Shahab-3...

"Iran has successfully test-fired some of the longest range missiles in its arsenal, state media say. The Revolutionary Guards tested the Shahab-3 and Sajjil rockets, which are believed to have ranges of up to 2,000km (1,240 miles), reports said. The missiles' range could potentially permit them to reach Israel and US bases in the Gulf, analysts say."

This article provides an overview of the various sites in Iran that play a role in Iran's nuclear program.

"The existence of a heavy water facility near the town of Arak first emerged with the publication of satellite images by the US-based Institute for Science and International Security in December 2002.

Heavy water is used to moderate the nuclear fission chain reaction either in a certain type of reactor - albeit not the type that Iran is currently building - or produce plutonium for use...

"The foundation of Iran’s nuclear program can be traced to extensive Chinese and Russian cooperation in the 1990s, according to a former U.S. intelligence official who specialized on Tehran’s program."

"Iran is developing a missile capable of delivering payloads up to 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) away, Israel's vice prime minister charged Thursday. Speaking to Israel's annual Herzliya national security conference, Moshe Ya'alon, who also serves as Israel's minister for strategic affairs, suggested that an Iranian military compound that mysteriously blew up late last year was developing a...

The way in which Barack Obama has been perceived on matters of national security has generally been weak. He has even been outspoken about his uncertainty of the effectiveness of our missile defense system.

"President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday that Russia will target the American missile defense system in Europe with its missiles if Moscow cannot reach an agreement with Washington and NATO on how the system will be built and operated.

Medvedev, who is leading the ruling United Russia party to the polls in the country’s Dec. 4 parliamentary elections, accused the United States and its...

"Missile weapons and technologies are becoming ever more available, and a growing number of countries are interested in acquiring them. For some, this is because missile technologies are closely linked with delivering weapons of mass destruction. Clearly we should analyze the motives of certain countries that seek these weapons. And we should continue examining what Western countries and...

"The United States successfully tested a sea-based component of its missile defense shield Thursday evening, intercepting a ballistic missile with a dummy warhead over the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said. The exercise was the 19th successful test in 23 attempts of the system -- known as the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Program -- since 2002."

"The proposed U.S. ballistic missile defense system is intended to tie numerous independent elements into a sophisticated web of protection, U.S. military officials said.

The stated mission of the Missile Defense Agency is to field a layered missile defense system that integrates land-, sea-, and air-based missile defenses to protect the U.S. homeland, deployed troops, and America's...

Recent events in Iran and North Korea support President Reagan's vision for the importance of a robust missile defense system 'which offers new hope for our children in the 21st century' as he envisioned in March 1983 when the missile defense program was first proposed.

This piece lists the names of various missiles, describes their propellants and range, and then describes their type and measurement.

This article describes the fine line that President Obama has walked in terms of missile defense.

"The New START treaty represents an obsolete approach to national security, a holdover from the Cold War when the Soviet Union was the primary threat to the United States. Today, America has more reason to worry about actual and potential nuclear-missile threats from Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and China. North Korea’s latest hostile acts against South Korea and reports that Iran has signed...

"North Korea announced plans Friday to blast a satellite into space on the back of a long-range rocket, a provocative move that could jeopardize a weeks-old agreement with the U.S. exchanging food aid for nuclear concessions."

"We are often asked which countries have nuclear weapons, are seeking them, or may seek them in the future. In trying to answer the question, we have had to consider which countries possessed or tried to obtain nuclear weapons in the past. Our findings about both current and historical nuclear weapons programs are outlined on an interactive world map, and summarized in a companion table."

"A nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) is a specified region in which countries commit themselves not to manufacture, acquire, test, or possess nuclear weapons. Five such zones exist today, with four of them spanning the entire Southern Hemisphere. The regions currently covered under NWFZ agreements include: Latin America (the 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco), the South Pacific (the 1985 Treaty of...

"US President Barack Obama has shelved plans for controversial bases in Poland and the Czech Republic in a major overhaul of missile defence in Europe.

The bases are to be scrapped after a review of the threat from Iran."

"In order to understand the reaction of the Polish government, political elites, and public to President Barack Obama's decision to discontinue the U.S. missile defense plan in Eastern Europe, one has to remember why Warsaw had engaged in talks with Washington in the first place. It wasn't the anti-missile shield specifically, since the main U.S. goals of the project--to defend U.S. territory...

"The president’s decision to reverse Bush-era foreign policy in Eastern Europe by scrapping plans to build a missile defense shield and radar system in Poland and the Czech Republic resulted in disparate and polarized responses last week.

Seventy years ago to the day that the Red Army invaded Poland, the Obama administration announced the major foreign policy shift to cries of 'betrayal...

"At the tail end of his 90 minute meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev Monday, President Obama said that he would have 'more flexibility' to deal with controversial issues such as missile defense, but incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to give him 'space.'

The exchange was picked up by microphones as reporters were let into the room for remarks by the two leaders...

"The typical Cold War apocalyptic scenario goes something like this: tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union have heated to the point where the inhibition to use nuclear ballistic missiles has completely thawed. It only takes one missile to reap such destruction that the aftermath is catastrophic.

People were genuinely afraid of this situation since the enemy could...

Brian Kennedy discusses four points related to the question of a national missile defense system:

"One, the United States has enemies that seek to remove it as the most powerful nation in the world and the defender of freedom. Two, the method by which these nations will seek to marginalize the United States may well be nuclear missile attack or the terror of nuclear black-mail. Three,...

US President Barack Obama has cancelled plans to station an anti-ballistic missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

"If we want to avoid burdening our children and grandchildren with anunworkable, dangerous, and immensely costly project, the time to starteducating ourselves and our fellow citizens about the costs of the StarWars program is now. Even without a full grasp of the technical issuesinvolved, most people know a boondoggle when they see one. If the technicalfiascoes and special interest politics...

"Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned that missiles could be deployed on the EU's borders if the US pursues its missile defence plans. In a televised statement, he said 'modern weapons systems' could be deployed in Kaliningrad if Russia, the US and Nato failed to come to a deal."

"Russia strongly opposes the U.S. plan to station a missile defense system in Eastern Europe. That issue will be discussed during the upcoming summit meeting in Moscow between U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitri Medvedev.

The Bush administration was wholeheartedly behind a proposed missile defense system made up of 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a...

"Russia threatened on Wednesday to deploy missiles to target the U.S. missile shield in Europe if Washington fails to assuage Moscow’s concerns about its plans, a harsh warning that reflects deep cracks in U.S.-Russian ties despite President Barack Obama’s efforts to 'reset' relations with the Kremlin.

President Dmitry Medvedev said he still hopes for a deal with the U.S. on missile...

"In 2009, Russia’s defense export giant Rosoboronexport sold arms in the amount of $7.4 billion, the company’s director Anatoly Isaikin told RIA Novosti news agency. In the future, Russia plans to increase the export of arms and would even be ready to sell weapons to Iraq and Afghanistan, the official said.

'We’ve recently had a corporate meeting at the company and discussed the results...

"A new cruise-missile system being marketed by a Russian firm is attracting attention as a weapon that, according to its own promotional video, could transform ordinary civilian freight vehicles into long-range missile launchers.

The weapon, known as the Club-K Container Missile System, has been promoted on the Internet and at international arms fairs by the Moscow-based defense firm...

"Whether you are for or against combat drones, they're here to stay. In fact, their use will only expand. You might be disturbed by this news, but that doesn't change the reality. Even if the United States and its allies stopped using and building drones, Pandora's Box has already been opened. Fifty other nations are now developing combat drones of their own. That's what happens with useful...

This brief page gives the reader a concise and thorough outline of the different arguments for and against a national missile defense system. This is an important topic and therefore necessary to see the issue from all sides.

This article discusses how the Soviets viewed the U.S. missile defense advances under President Reagan.

"A space-based boost-phase missile defense system would target ballistic missiles during launch, while the boosters were burning. Proponents argue that by engaging a missile during boost phase, space based interceptors (SBIs) could avoid the crippling problems that plague interceptors designed to engage warheads during midcourse phase, when the warhead is above the atmosphere. In particular,...

"More than a decade and a half after the Cold War ended, the world's combined stockpile of nuclear warheads remain at a very high level: more than 20,500. Of these, some 4,800 warheads are considered operational, of which nearly 2,000 U.S. and Russian warheads are on high alert, ready for use on short notice."

"WHY THE hurry, Mr. President? It’s a question we’ve asked twice before. There was a rush to pass his $787 billion 'stimulus' to hold unemployment below 8 percent. Congress obliged, and now we are saddled with higher unemployment and crushing debt. Then there was his health care assault: no time for our representatives to even read the bill. As ObamaCare has been revealed, it has frightened...

The NAPF provides some fact and insight into today's nuclear issue. Arguing for nuclear disarmament, the foundation argues that nuclear weapons technology has never provided anything positive.

"The inherent advantages of U.S. Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) drones—like the Predator, Reaper, and Global Hawk—for spying on potential adversaries and attacking suspected militants has made them the default counterterrorism tools for the Obama administration. Unlike manned aircraft, or special operations raids, MALE drones can hover directly over hostile territory for between...

"Last week marked the two-year anniversary of President Obama’s announcement of what was to be a radical new approach to missile defense — the Phased Adaptive Approach. According to this plan, the United States, working with NATO, would ramp up the deployment of a mix of increasingly sophisticated sea- and land-based missile interceptors around Europe in an attempt to guard against future...

"'The growing threat from long-range nuclear missiles endangers the lives of millions of Americans while upsetting regional and global stability. America needs a comprehensive ballistic missile defense system that employs a multilayered defense system of sea, ground, air, and space-based systems.

Since President Obama took office, the White House has systematically undercut...

"The nuclear-weapons treaty President Obama has negotiated with the Russians may help him make America’s erstwhile Cold War adversary happy, but it won’t help protect us from the rogue nations that threaten the United States today.

If ratified, the New START treaty would force the U.S. to agree to strategic-nuclear-weapons parity with the direct descendant of a nation that threatened...

"Russia has developed a stand-alone nuclear warhead capable of penetrating any existing or projecting missile defense system, informs Interfax news agency. According to Yury Solomonov, the chief designer of the Moscow Heat Engineering Institute, this unique system was successfully tested last year [2010]."

"The headline on the front page of Poland's Fakt newspaper Friday said it all: 'Betrayal! The U.S. sold us to Russia and stabbed us in the back.'

'No Radar. Russia won,' cried Mlada Fronta Dnes, the largest Czech daily, on its front page.

Thursday's announcement by the Obama administration that it has scrapped plans to construct a Ballistic Missile Defense (bmd) system in Poland...

Despite criticism of the missile defense system from Theodore Postol, an MIT professor, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. James Cartwright has said to be "90 percent-plus" sure that the missile defense system would work.

"The Obama administration has developed possible alternative plans for a missile defense shield that could drop hotly disputed sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, a move that would please Russia and Germany but sour relations with American allies in Eastern Europe.

Administration officials said they hoped to complete their months-long review of the planned antimissile system as...

"The Obama administration is accelerating the deployment of new defenses against possible Iranian missile attacks in the Persian Gulf, placing special ships off the Iranian coast and antimissile systems in at least four Arab countries, according to administration and military officials."

Matt Kelley talks about the mixed test results for the missile defense system.

"Closing a Cold War chapter, technicians Tuesday dismantled the last of the most powerful U.S. nuclear bombs ever built.

The B53 nuclear bomb was made to deliver a 9-megaton blast about 600 times more powerful than the one that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

Starting in 1962, about 300 of the 10,000-pound, minivan-size bombs were made, meant to be carried on bombers kept on 24-hour...

"US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, have signed a landmark nuclear arms treaty in the Czech capital, Prague.

The treaty commits the former Cold War enemies to each reduce the number of deployed strategic warheads to 1,550 - 30% lower than the previous ceiling."

"The last of the nation's most powerful nuclear bombs — a weapon hundreds of times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima — is being disassembled nearly half a century after it was put into service at the height of the Cold War."

"In 33 minutes or less, life as we know it in America could end. That's how long it would take for an enemy ballistic missile launched from the other side of the world to hit the United States. If it carried and detonated a nuclear weapon high over the center of the country, the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) would literally fry the nation's electrical grid and all of the circuitry that powers...

It would seem, then, that national missile defense has quietly become global international missile defense, designed not just to protect the United States, but also allies and friends around the world.

In one of the biggest national security reversals of his young presidency, Mr. Obama canceled former President George W. Bush’s plans to station a radar facility in the Czech Republic and 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland. Instead, he plans to deploy smaller SM-3 interceptors by 2011, first aboard ships and later in Europe, possibly even in Poland or the Czech Republic.

President Reagan's belief in the importance of missile defense is supported by Jastrow, a professor at Dartmouth, and Frelk, the executive director at the George C. Marshall Institute.

With the threat from North Korea increasing, debate has mounted over whether or not our missile defense system will protect us. The Missile Defense Agency states they are "capable of intercepting and destroying a ballistic missile launched from North Korea."

Chart or Graph

This chart classifies Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, India, and North Korea as "countries of concern with ballistic missiles with ranges over 1,000 km."

Sea and space based missile defense systems are not the only types that should be developed.

Should Iran receive long range missiles from North Korea, or develop its own, it could threaten a much wider area.

This graphic describes locations of current and cancelled U.S. radar and missile defense installations.

"The system will incorporate a global array of sensors and radars, satellite tracking and surveillance; interceptors aboard ships at sea; ground-based interceptor missiles in underground silos; mobile-launch interceptors; and powerful lasers fixed to aircraft."

This chart provides an overview of the types and ranges of missiles Iran possesses.

This map shows the location of various sites important to Iran's nuclear program. A heavy water plant at Arak, a nuclear power station at Bushehr, an uranium conversion plant at Isfahan, and an uranium enrichment plant at Natanz make up some of the important areas.

Iran and its relationship with Venezuela in regards to developing and sharing nuclear weaponry.

"The total number of long-range missiles potentially threatening the United States has declined from 2,400 fielded by the Soviet Union and China in 1987 to only 689 fielded by Russia and China today. This is a 71 percent decrease in the number of ICBMs that threaten U.S. territory."

Strongly opposed by Russia and perceived as a direct threat to its national security, the missile defense system was designed to deter Iran from launching a long-range missile and protect against a possible Iranian attack.

"In total, about 30 countries have sought nuclear weapons, and ten are known to have succeeded."

"A comparison of nuclear weapons stockpiles by state or country."

After reading this description of the New START Treaty, do you think this weakens the national defense of the United States?

"[P]ublicly available information and occasional leaks make it possible to make best estimates about the size and composition of the national nuclear weapon stockpiles...."

"In an unprecedented event, the Pentagon disclosed on May 3, 2010, that its total stockpile of nuclear weapons included 5,113 warheads, a size very close to what we have estimated on these pages."

"The US and Russian leaders signed the New Start treaty at a ceremony attended by hundreds of officials in the lavishly decorated Spanish Hall of Prague Castle, the Czech president's residence."

Analysis Report White Paper

According to Richard Perle, the missile defense system that is most effective intercepts the missile in the launch phase. During this phase, called the "boost phase" missiles are easier to intercept due to relatively lower speeds.

"Indeed, the August test demonstrated that the direct threat to the United States posed by developing country missiles was no longer a theoretical possibility, but rather a demonstrated technical fact. Tipped with a nuclear warhead, North Korea’s missiles would inevitably change the strategic landscape."

Written nearly ten years before New START, this piece traces the history of START I and also details the attempted START II treaty. The paper goes on to discuss arms control and missile defense issues.

"The debate surrounding U.S. development and deployment of a national missile defense (NMD) system is not new. From the humble beginnings of the V-2 rocket in 1944 to the land, air, and sea-based NMD systems of tomorrow, this chronology will give you a sense of the history of the debate."

If the North Koreans launch a threatening ICBM, the president should act in defense of the country and shoot it down. Moreover, Congress should put a missile defense architecture similar to GPALS in place.

This article analyzes how particular scientists have claimed the missile defense system to be illegitimate initially for being ineffective and later for being too effective.

"The boom in drones has stirred a variety of concerns among critics, but the greatest has been over strikes carried out covertly by the CIA under a classified, but widely reported, program of strikes against suspected militants inside Pakistan.

The Federation of American Scientists lays out Iran's missile technology.

Two recent editorials from Heritage fellows have criticized the Obama administration for abandoning Eastern European allies. According to the editorials, Obama has given up proposed missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic (sometimes called the 'third site'). They argue that this will serve to embolden Russia and increase our vulnerability to Iran's missile capabilities.

The desire for both prestige and bargaining leverage may motivate North Korea and Iran to acquire intercontinental ballistic missiles. But these missiles are unlikely vehicles for a deliberate nuclear attack--unless a country wants to commit suicide.

This article discusses the potential hidden agenda beyond protecting America from an attack from a ballistic missile.

"The threat today is much greater than in 1941. The cost of ignoring the problem in 1941 was over 2,000 young men and a few ships and planes. Tragic as that loss was, it pales in comparison to the potential loss today: Millions of lives and entire cities."

Paper examines the possibilities of a non-nuclear country developing nuclear weapons.

"The United States has long recognized the dangers inherent in the spread of nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons, and missiles. This report, which analyzes NBC weapons programs potential threat patterns around the globe, is updated as needed."

While most argue about the technology of rogue states and also that of the missile defense system itself, this piece address the sociopolitical advances that have been made with these rogue states that will help deter them from actually attacking the United States.

"Congress needs to put the U.S. missile defense program back on track and enact into law a U.S. 'protect and defend strategy' to replace the outdated Cold War deterrence strategy."

This report provides a variety of charts and statistics gleaned from a survey of Moms and individuals from Generation Y. The research gives a glimpse into some of the deepest concerns American citizens are facing in 2011, including the economy and national security.

On December 5, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) performed a successful intercept test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) missile defense interceptor. The GMD interceptor destroyed an incoming ballistic missile launched out of Kodiak, Alaska, in space over the Pacific Ocean.

"The United States and its allies are at risk of missile attack from a growing number of states and non­state terrorist organizations.... To counter these growing threats, the U.S. should work with its allies, including South Korea and Japan, to develop and deploy missile defenses, including ground-based, sea-based, and air-based components."

This article argues against the analysis of Philipp C. Bleek and Frank N. von Hippel in their article titled "Missile Defense: A Dangerous Move."

Sherman addresses the historical inaccuracies of missile defense and also how a nuclear attack against the United States is more likely to come from a ship or airplane rather than an ICBM.

Since its controversial withdrawal from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty a few months after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks, U.S. strategic thinking has turned toward developing ways to outflank rogue states that might decide that packing nuclear warheads into ballistic missiles provide a better vehicle for attacking the United States.

"Two important recent events—the signing of New START and the release of the Obama administration’s Nuclear Posture Review—will shape the configuration of the U.S. nuclear arsenal for years to come."

Ms. Ridenour discusses the fundamental differences in war today compared to previous decades, and how an inability to defend against a ballistic missile attack is unacceptable.


Carafano argues that the Iranians have been able to launch a satellite into space and that the North Koreans are not far behind.

"The elimination of the B53 by Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is consistent with the goal President Obama announced in his April 2009 Prague speech to reduce the number of nuclear weapons. The President said, 'We will reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy, and urge others to do the same.' The dismantlement of the last...

"A Russian company is marketing a devastating new cruise missile system which can be hidden inside a shipping container, giving any merchant vessel the capability to wipe out an aircraft carrier.

Potential customers for the formidable Club-K system include Kremlin allies Iran and Venezuela, say defense experts. They worry that countries could pass on the satellite-guided missiles, which...

Analyst Marko Papic explains two separate statements made Wednesday that give Russia momentum against U.S. plans for ballistic missile defense in Europe.

This video describes how NATO's missile defense system works.

This video demonstrates how laser technology is being used for missile defense in the military.

This video clip explains the success behind missile defense technology.

In this video, Senator Barack Obama laid out some of his campaign promises regarding defense spending.

This video clip shows the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile defense system.

Under George W. Bush's administration, the United States decided to place its third missile defense site in the European nation of Poland. This clip, however, details President Obama's plan to scrap the Polish missile defense site and pursue a different course in missile defense.

"Iran, Syria, Venezuela, China, India, United Arab Emirates and several other countries have shown interest in Club-K. Though a powerful and dangerous weapon, Club-K is quite expensive ($10-20 million/shipping crate) and therefore more easily kept out of the hands of smaller and more belligerent terrorist groups (unless they are state-sponsored, as some are). This is the Club-K promotional...

"The Missile Defense Agency is hailing flight test 10 of its Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system in March as a success. This was the first salvo test of the system; two interceptors were launched against one short-range target (boosted from a barge). The results, on the video, show interceptor one colliding with the warhead target while the second interceptor -- launched 12 sec...

"Though only able to travel up to short- and medium-range distances, tactical missiles can be launched from a mobile launcher, such as aircraft, ships, submarines and Club-K crates. Below is a video detailing how the Club-K delivery system works."

"The U.S. Missile Defense program faces a bevvy of challenges as it continues in its push to field ballistic missile-defeating technologies against more and more advanced threats around the globe."

Primary Document

This document outlines each aspect that contributes to our missile defense system, how the system is tested, and the success of the program.

"The Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) is a complex system of elements and supporting efforts. The integration of these many elements will enable a robust, layered defense to defend against a hostile missile in all phases of flight."

"This Agreement establishes the rights and obligations of the Parties with respect to the use by the United States of the Closed Area on the territory of Poland in the locality of Slupsk-Redzikowo for the purpose of deployment there and use of non-nuclear ground-based ballistic missile defense interceptors."

Annual Address to the Federal Assembly by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin outlines goals for the country in the years ahead and reassures previous national goals.

"In the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems the United States and the Soviet Union agree that each may have only two ABM deployment areas, ... so restricted and so located that they cannot provide a nationwide ABM defense or become the basis for developing one. Each country thus leaves unchallenged the penetration capability of the others retaliatory missile forces....

"The Missile Defense Agency conducts regular intercept flight tests. These tests provide data to anchor models and simulations that can then be used to verify performance and confirm the technological progress of the Ballistic Missile Defense System. The MDA also conducts regular, rigorous non-intercept tests, including sensor characterization flight tests, ground tests, and wargame exercises...

"The protection of the United States from the threat of ballistic missile attack is a critical national security priority. The threat to our deployed military forces and to our allies and partners is growing rapidly. This threat has significant implications for our ability to project power abroad, to prevent and deter future conflicts, and to prevail should deterrence fail.

At the same...

The Missile Defense Agency's test program provides critical data to demonstrate the performance of the Ballistic Missile Defense System and its elements.

"Prime Minister Tusk. Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, before the visit of President Barack Obama, I learned that Ralph Waldo Emerson was your favorite American thinker. And certainly at the time I tried to search for some association, some quotations, some connections. And out of all these ideas, the one that talks about enthusiasm—that nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm—...

Among other things, this commission report shows how the ballistic missile threat to the United States is real, and has been real for some time now.

The appropriate response to the EMP threat is a balance of prevention, planning, training, maintaining situational awareness, protection, and preparations for recovery.

"The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions on Earth whether for military or for peaceful purposes.

It comprises a preamble, 17 articles, two annexes and a Protocol with two annexes."

"This report is prepared annually to provide Congress with official, unclassified, quantitative data on conventional arms transfers to developing nations by the United States and foreign countries for the preceding eight calendar years for use in its policy oversight functions. All agreement and delivery data in this report for the United States are government-to-government Foreign Military...

This piece is in question/answer format in which Mr. Whitman asks the Lieutenant about the successful missile defense test.

"I was honored to have the opportunity today to watch the dismantling of the final B53 bomb at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas.

Dismantling the B53 bomb – the oldest weapon in America’s nuclear arsenal and one of the highest-yield nuclear weapons ever fielded by the United States – is a tremendous accomplishment for the National Nuclear Security Administration and for the Energy...

"The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Commerce, and the United States Trade Representative, and with the President of the Export-Import Bank, the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and other agencies and officials as appropriate, is hereby authorized to impose on a person any of the sanctions described in...

Former Senator Proxmire explains the cost of developing missile defenses to President Reagan and that the benefits are not worth the costs.

"The United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, hereinafter referred to as the Parties,

Convinced that the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems and this Interim Agreement on Certain Measures with Respect to the Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms will contribute to the creation of more favorable conditions for active negotiations on...

"Iran's extensive inventory of ballistic missiles is considered by some as its primary means to deliver weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to a variety of potential targets in the region. Recent missile tests and reports that Iran is actively pursuing nuclear weapons have helped to increase regional tensions. This report will be updated as events warrant."

"The United States and the USSR have agreed to recommend the following principles as the basis for future multilateral negotiations on disarmament and to call upon other states to cooperate in reaching early agreement on general and complete disarmament in a peaceful world in accordance with these principles:


The Missile Defense Agency conducts regular flight tests to verify performance and confirm the technological progress of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS).

This text displays the former President's ideas on missile defense and why, as President, he helped push the growth and enhancement of our missile defense system.

This press release from the Department of Defense helps solidify the effectiveness of the missile defense system.

This Bill seeks "To state the policy of the United States regarding the deployment of a missile defense system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack."

"The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), negotiated between the United States and the Russian Federation, is a follow-on agreement to the original START Treaty between the U.S. and the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan that expired in December 5, 2009. Signed by Presidents Obama and Medvedev on April 8, 2010, New START significantly advances our leadership on...

Text of, protocols and supporting documents for the New START.

"During the Senate debate on the new U.S.-Russian Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) in 2010, many Senators raised questions about Russian nonstrategic nuclear weapons and noted their absence from the treaty limits. The United States and Russia have not included limits on these weapons in past arms control agreements. Nevertheless, Congress may press the Administration to seek...

"On May 24, 2002, President Bush and Russia’s President Putin signed the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (known as the Moscow Treaty). It mandated that the United States and Russia reduce their strategic nuclear weapons to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by December 31, 2012. The U.S. Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification on March 6, 2003; the Russian Parliament did the...

"The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was opened for signature in 1968, and has nearly 190 Parties. The Treaty comprises legally binding non-proliferation commitments and is the basis for international cooperation on stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. The President in Prague on April 5 said that the basic bargain at the core of the Treaty is sound: 'countries with...

"A nuclear-weapon-free zone (NWFZ) is a specified region in which countries commit themselves not to manufacture, acquire, test, or possess nuclear weapons. Five such zones exist today, with four of them spanning the entire Southern Hemisphere. The regions currently covered under NWFZ agreements include: Latin America (the 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco), the South Pacific (the 1985 Treaty of...

"Thank you so much. Thank you for this wonderful welcome. Thank you to the people of Prague. Thank you to the people of the Czech Republic. (Applause.) Today, I'm proud to stand here with you in the middle of this great city, in the center of Europe. (Applause.) And, to paraphrase one of my predecessors, I am also proud to be the man who brought Michelle Obama to Prague. (Applause.)


"At the 703rd plenary meeting of the Conference on 23 March 1995, the Special Coordinator, Ambassador Shannon of Canada, presented his report on the outcome of his consultations 'on the most appropriate arrangement to negotiate a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.'"

Former President Reagan talks about the Soviet disregard for the ABM treaty and the importance of developing a security shield that destroys weapons, not people.

President Reagan thanks the astronautics employees and talks about the importance of their work related to the safety of the American citizen.

"At the 703rd plenary meeting of the Conference on 23 March 1995, the Special Coordinator, Ambassador Shannon of Canada, presented his report on the outcome of his consultations 'on the most appropriate arrangement to negotiate a treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices'."

"The subject I want to discuss with you, peace and national security, is both timely and important. Timely, because I've reached a decision which offers a new hope for our children in the 21st century, a decision I'll tell you about in a few minutes. And important because there's a very big decision that you must make for yourselves. This subject involves the most basic duty that any President...

"Like the Antarctic Treaty, the Outer Space Treaty, and the Latin American Nuclear-Free Zone, the Seabed Treaty sought to prevent the introduction of international conflict and nuclear weapons into an area hitherto free of them. Reaching agreement on the seabed, however, involved problems not met in framing the other two agreements."

"The Parties hereto establish an International Atomic Energy Agency (hereinafter referred to as 'the Agency') upon the terms and conditions hereinafter set forth."

"The Agency shall seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world. It shall ensure, so far as it is able, that assistance provided by it or at its request or under its supervision or control is not used in such a way as to further any military purpose."

The text of, protocols for, and various documents pertaining to START I.

Reagan unveiled his famous missile defense program in 1983 with the hope of it precipitating the end of the Cold War. Though it faced harsh criticism, the program (under a different name) still exists today.

This testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee addresses the need for additional funding for long range missile defense specifically to counteract the growing number of ballistic missiles carried by rogue states.

This report analyzes the effectiveness of the technology behind the ballistic missile defense system.

"Many people have the misconception that sanctions are an effective means to encourage a change of behavior in another country without war. However, imposing sanctions and blockades are not only an act of war according to international law, they are most often the first step toward a real war starting with a bombing campaign. Sanctions were the first step in our wars against Iraq and Libya,...

"The United States and Russia signed the New START Treaty on April 8, 2010. New START provides the parties with seven years to reduce their forces, and will remain in force for a total of 10 years. The New START Treaty limits each side to no more than 800 deployed and nondeployed ICBM and SLBM launchers and deployed and nondeployed heavy bombers equipped to carry nuclear armaments. Within that...

"Unmanned systems are proving to have a significant impact on warfare worldwide. The true value of these systems is not to provide a direct human replacement, but rather to extend and complement human capability in a number of ways. These systems extend human reach by providing potentially unlimited persistent capabilities without degradation due to fatigue or lack of attention. Unmanned...

"The Test Ban Treaty of 1963 prohibits nuclear weapons tests 'or any other nuclear explosion' in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water. While not banning tests underground, the Treaty does prohibit nuclear explosions in this environment if they cause 'radioactive debris to be present outside the territorial limits of the State under whose jurisdiction or control' the explosions were...

START II was a bilateral treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation that was abandoned by both sides before coming into force.

"The United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, hereinafter referred to as the Parties,

Conscious that nuclear war would have devastating consequences for all mankind,

Guided by the objective of strengthening strategic stability,

Convinced that the measures set forth in this Treaty will help to reduce the risk of outbreak of war and strengthen...

"In the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems the United States and the Soviet Union agree that each may have only two ABM deployment areas, ... so restricted and so located that they cannot provide a nationwide ABM defense or become the basis for developing one. Each country thus leaves unchallenged the penetration capability of the others retaliatory missile forces."

"Each Party undertakes, in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty, to limit strategic offensive arms quantitatively and qualitatively, to exercise restraint in the development of new types of strategic offensive arms, and to adopt other measures provided for in this Treaty."

"The Outer Space Treaty, as it is known, was the second of the so-called 'nonarmament' treaties; its concepts and some of its provisions were modeled on its predecessor, the Antarctic Treaty. Like that Treaty it sought to prevent 'a new form of colonial competition' and the possible damage that self-seeking exploitation might cause."

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons intended to curb the ability of non-nuclear state from acquiring nuclear weapons and sought to disarm states already possessing nuclear capabilities. However, it drew a sharp line between nuclear technology for war and peace. It maintained every state had a right to peaceful atomic energy. It also established the International Atomic...

"Like the Antarctic Treaty, the Outer Space Treaty, and the Latin American Nuclear-Free Zone, the Seabed Treaty sought to prevent the introduction of international conflict and nuclear weapons into an area hitherto free of them. Reaching agreement on the seabed, however, involved problems not met in framing the other two agreements."

"Unmanned aircraft are commonly called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and when combined with ground control stations and data links, form UAS, or unmanned aerial systems."

White House Announcement on the Development of a Defensive System against Nuclear Ballistic Missiles
President Ronald Reagan
March 25, 1983

"Today the President issued a National Security Decision Directive addressing his intent to direct the development of...



Missile defense. It's been talked about for decades, some of us even grew up watching Patriot missiles shoot down Iraqi Scud missiles in the first Gulf War. But where do things stand today? Is it still needed? Should I care? Those questions and more are answered in the FAQ below.