Date of Graduation

Spring 2011


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Andrei Shoumikhin


MANPADS, ATGM, missile, proliferation, portable

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


Man-portable guided missiles (MANPADS) pose a unique challenge to global security. These weapons are designed to be lightweight and transportable by individuals. MANPADS are shoulder-launched weapons that are designed to shoot down aircraft. Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) systems are designed to allow a single soldier to destroy a ground object beyond visual range with great accuracy. Both MANPADS and ATGM systems have been used to provide an asymmetric tool against particular opponents. Terrorists and non-state actors can bring down civilian aircraft, causing hundreds of deaths with a single weapon. ATGM systems can provide non-state militias with the ability to engage large conventional forces. The Cold War was the catalyst for the proliferation regime as proxy conflicts between East and West incorporated MANPADS and ATGM systems. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the proliferation of MANPADS and ATGM systems remains a global challenge as weapons are sold to secondary users. Terrorists seek these weapons because of the disproportionate amount of damage they can do. Global efforts are underway to mitigate the proliferation of MANPADS and ATGM systems, yet demand for such weapons makes counter-proliferation efforts increasingly difficult.


© Gregory Benjamin Robins

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