Ballistic Missile Defense and Offensive Arms Reductions: A Review of the Historical Record
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The United States and Russia signed the New START Treaty on April 8, 2010, and it awaits Senate consideration. The preamble to the Treaty contains a provision on the interrelationship of strategic offensive arms and strategic defensive arms. This statement does not contain any limits on current or planned U.S. missile defense programs. However, some analysts have questioned whether Russias threat to withdraw from New START if the United States expands its missile defense capabilities might have a chilling effect on U.S. missile defense plans and programs. Ballistic missile defenses have been an issue in U.S.-Soviet and U.S.-Russian arms control talks since the 1970s. During the Cold War, the nations sought to balance limits on offensive weapons and defensive weapons so that they could maintain strategic stability, which refers to the ability of each side to launch a retaliatory strike after absorbing a first strike by the other side. Most analysts argued that missile defenses would undermine stability by protecting the attacking nation from the effects of a second strike some argued that defenses could enhance stability by undermining the effectiveness of the first strike. The former construct was evident in the Strategic Arms Limitation talks SALT, where the United States and Soviet Union agreed to limit both offensive forces and ballistic missile defenses. The latter formula was evident in the Reagan Administrations advocacy of the Strategic Defense Initiative SDI.
- Government and Political Science
- Guided Missiles