Date of Graduation

Summer 2011


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

William Van Cleave


space-based missile defense, Brilliant Pebbles, missile defense, space, Strategic Defense Initiative, Strategic Defense Initiative Organization

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


This thesis analyzes the current state of the U.S. ballistic missile defense program, explains the history behind limitations on the program, examines and how these limitations have prevented the United States from exploiting space in order to develop the most effective and feasible missile defense program possible. This thesis details how space-based interceptor technologies have advanced since 1992 despite the official U.S. unwillingness to advance its ballistic missile defense program. Additionally, this thesis analyzes the potential of the current, and still politically handicapped, U.S. ballistic missile defense programs to advance space-based missile defense through the use of small kinetic kill vehicles. The thesis makes the case that space-based missile defenses could be most efficiently realized by leveraging current U.S. investments in sea-based missile defenses and other programs, and that doing so will be essential to countering the ballistic missile threat and preserving the U.S. advantage in space.


© Michaela Bendikova

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