Boost-Phase Missile Defense: Present Challenges, Future Prospects

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Date(s) - 4/3/200912:00 pm - 1:30 pm

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The pursuit of ballistic missile defense ranks among the most contentious national security concerns of the last 30 years. Nevertheless, significant steps have been taken in recent years to deploy systems capable of defending the American public from ballistic missile threats. Debate today rages over the appropriate scale and direction of the missile defense effort.

One of those debates concerns the role of boost phase defense. Destroying attacking missiles early in their flight offers enormous benefits, but the mission remains politically controversial and technically demanding. The Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations pursued boost defenses from space, but those efforts were cancelled in the 1990s. Terrestrial and airborne approaches have been explored in recent years, notably the Airborne Laser (ABL), Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) and the Network Centric Airborne Defense Element (NCADE).

A tight budgetary environment and an emphasis on terminal and midcourse defenses have created precarious conditions for the nascent boost phase programs.

Two panels discussed the political and technical issues associated with contemporary debates over boost phase missile defense.

 

Download PDF  Boost-Phase Missile Defense Present Challenges, Future Prospects

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