National Missile Defense,
OFFICE OF THE UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (ACQUISITION AND TECHNOLOGY) WASHINGTON DC
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The proliferation of short-range ballistic missiles in the world today poses a direct, immediate threat to many of our allies and to some U.S. forces deployed abroad in defense of our national interests. Over time, the proliferation of longer range missiles could pose a greater threat to the U.S. itself. For these reasons, an active national missile defense is playing a central and vital role in U.S. defense planning well into the next century. I would characterize the last three years as a period of transition for our national missile defense program. We are moving from a culture of research, demonstrations and space experiments to one of developing and being prepared to field an operational capability. It takes a different kind of discipline to move from what was essentially an RD enterprise to being prepared to deploy and support an operational system in the field. The resource-constrained environment of the nineties, together with the complex nature of the security challenges facing us, requires that we deploy the right capabilities at the right time for achieving the highest overall level of security for the United States. To do so we must consider the role of missile defense within the nations broader national security strategy. Active defenses can never be considered in and of themselves a panacea for countering the proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction. We have a broader strategy encompassing a full range of tools in a national kit of options. Our strategy has three components preventing and reducing the threat deterring the threat and defending against the threat.
- Civil Defense
- Defense Systems