Sea-Based Ballistic Missile Defense -- Background and Issues for Congress
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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In developing a global ballistic missile defense BMD system, the Department of Defense DOD currently is modifying 18 Navy cruisers and destroyers for BMD operations, and has placed a large BMD radar -- the Sea-Based X-Band Radar SBX -- on a modified floating oil platform. The eventual role for sea-based systems in the worldwide U.S. BMD architecture has not been determined. The issue for Congress for this report is What should be the role of sea-based systems in U.S. ballistic missile defense Compared to other BMD systems, sea-based BMD systems offer potential strengths and limitations. Potential strengths include the ability to conduct BMD operations from advantageous locations at sea that are inaccessible to ground-based systems, the ability to operate in forward locations in international waters without permission from foreign governments, and the ability to readily move to new maritime locations as needed. Potential limitations of sea-based BMD systems include possible conflicts with performing other ship missions, higher costs relative to ground-based systems, and vulnerability to attack when operating in forward locations. Potential issues for Congress regarding sea-based BMD systems include the role of sea-based BMD systems in the eventual U.S. BMD architecture, whether to initiate a program to fully replace the canceled Navy Area Defense NAD program for sea-based terminal-defense operations, pacing and funding for Aegis BMD radar and missile upgrades, and whether the Aegis BMD development approach offers potential lessons for the ground-based midcourse development program. This report will be updated as events warrant.
- Economics and Cost Analysis
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Antimissile Defense Systems
- Sociology and Law