Date of Graduation

Spring 2013


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Andrei Shoumikhin


ballistic missile defense, international relations, deterrence, Iran, Gulf Cooperation Council

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


The purpose of this thesis is to determine the challenges and importance of creating an integrated missile defense system for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries. With its ballistic missiles, Iran is capable of targeting, major American military installations in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, and Oman. Vital oil refineries, ports, terminals and shipping lanes in the region are also within range of Iran's missiles, along with every major population center. Creating an integrated ballistic missile defense (BMD) system for the GCC would effectively negate this threat. Many of the elements needed for such a system, including BMD radars and interceptor systems, have already been sold to GCC nations and are currently operational. By integrating these systems and creating an overarching command structure, the BMD capabilities for all of the GCC would be strengthened. This integrated system would increase deterrence against a ballistic missile attack, thus allowing the U.S. to draw down some of its forces in the region and reduce its own defense spending. This research demonstrates that it is possible to create an integrated BMD system for the GCC countries and that it would be beneficial to the U.S. It also shows, however, that distrust among the GCC countries would make such an arrangement difficult to establish and sustain.


© Nicholas Joseph Kortsha

Campus Only