The MX Basing Debate: The Reagan Plan and Alternatives
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
Pagination or Media Count:
On Oct. 2, 1981, President Reagan announced his plan for basing the MX missile, as part of a comprehensive proposal on U.S. strategic forces. The plan for MX is divided into near- and long-term elements. It would Deploy at least 100 MX missiles in modified Titan and later Minuteman 111 silos, hardened to withstand substantially more nuclear blast than current silos pursue research and development RD on three long-term basing options for MX continuous airborne patrol aircraft, ballistic missile defense of land-based MX, and basing deep underground or on the south side of mesas expect to choose among one, or more likely several, of these options in 1984. The Administration recognizes that silo basing is an interim measure to buy time until a more permanent solution is obtained, but contends that it is the most effective way to enhance MX survivability in the mid-1980s. The Administration further looks toward the three long-term options as promising ways of providing security later. Critics are likely to challenge both elements, asking Can we forgo silo basing and proceed directly to a long-term basing mode Are the three long-term options under consideration the best from which to choose S. 815, the FY82 Defense authorization bill, as reported from conference, specifies that no funds may be obligated or spent for developing an operational MX basing mode before Nov. 18, 1981, and no funds may be spent for that purpose after Nov. 18 if, before then, both Houses agree to resolutions disapproving the Presidents basing mode for MX announced on Oct. 2. At issue is whether the Congress finds the Presidents approach for MX acceptable, and, if not, what alternatives it might recommend that the Administration should pursue.
- Guided Missile Launching and Basing Support
- Surface-Launched Guided Missiles