Ballistic Missile Defense and Deterrence: Not Mutually Exclusive
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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There is a large body of scholarly work on deterrence theory, specifically as it relates to nuclear weapons. The interaction between strategic ballistic missile defense and nuclear deterrence has been extensively debated, but the majority of those debates and the broader discussion of nuclear deterrence has been done predominantly within the context of the Cold War. The post-Cold War era includes so called rogue nations and non-state actors which have, or will have, access to nuclear weapons, some of which are deliverable via ballistic missiles. A fundamental pillar of deterrence theory is that the parties involved are rational actors. In the post-Cold War era, rogue nations and non-state actors may not be rational, and thus, may or may not be deterrable. This situation makes a strong case for a strategic ballistic missile defense system, both as a hedge against a non-rational actor, and to introduce an element of uncertainty into their calculus. Provided this missile defense system remains small, it will improve U.S. national security while not undermining traditional nuclear deterrence.
- Antimissile Defense Systems
- Nuclear Weapons