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Emerging Missile Challenges and Improving Active Defenses

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Counterproliferation papers

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The 1993 Counterproliferation Initiative CPI was an implicit recognition by the U.S. government that despite the best efforts of the international community in nonproliferation and arms control, some weapons of mass destruction and the means for their delivery were going to fall into the hands of the world s bad actors. Since that was likely to happen, it was only prudent to prepare. The CPI specifically called upon the U.S. military to include planning for active and passive defenses in its spectrum of defense responsibilities. Its focus was primarily on tactical concerns, as defenses in the theater would neutralize or mitigate the effects of WMD weapons of mass destruction and enable U.S. forces to fight effectively even on a contaminated battlefield.1 In this context, it was envisioned that tactical and strategic ballistic missile defenses would play an integral role in protection of our deployed forces, our allies, and the American homeland. In the realm of strategic ballistic missile defense of North America, however, the need is not so clear-cut, nor is there a consensus regarding deployment. The need for a new defensive concept was articulated by President Ronald Reagan and caught the publics attention in 1983 and in the years immediately thereafter. In the early 1990s a somewhat fragile consensus was formed, including both Republicans and Democrats, that a limited national missile defense system was needed, particularly after North Korea began testing its No Dong and Taepo Dong missiles and it became evident that Kim Jong IIs government was selling this technology to other states like Iran and Pakistan.

Subject Categories:

  • Civil Defense
  • Antimissile Defense Systems

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