Date of Graduation

Fall 2009


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Ilan Berman


missile, ballistic, defense, SDI, midcourse, terminal, boost

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


Attempts by the United States to develop and deploy ballistic missile defense are nothing new. Under the context of Mutually Assured Destruction and the Cold War, a "limited” missile defense was proposed. Given technological and political shortfalls, the deployment of a "limited” missile defense was delayed until President Bush withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002. This action set the stage for the deployment of a national missile shield. Current developments however are putting this shield to the test. President Obama has outlined a new proposal for missile defense to respond to new and changing threats, but political and technological problems remain. While President Obama's plan is ambitious, many of his objectives are seemingly political, and the failure of an Obama system could be used as cover for a scaling back of ballistic missile defense. What is needed is a new plan, that will make Europe take a larger role, offer better protection of the United States mainland, and accomplish these goals with a reasonable cost.


© Robert Flanagan

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