Thesis Title

Israeli Theater Missile Defense Systems


Brent A. Lord

Date of Graduation

Spring 2004


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

William Van Cleave


Israel's small size and population, reliance upon a citizen military, and frangible wartime economy necessitates an active defense policy based on the principles of preemption and prevention. Israel relies on superior technology, training, and early warning to overcome the numerical superiority of its Middle Eastern adversaries. However, the proliferation of ballistic missiles along with nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons throughout the Middle East may tip the balance in favor of these bellicose states. These weapons give Israel's adversaries a deep strike capability that could disable critical mobilization centers and bases of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), disrupt Israel's vulnerable economy, or act as a weapon of terror. In response, Israel has developed and deployed an integrated national missile defense architecture based upon a joint United States-Israel theater missile defense initiative known as the "Arrow." When combined with the "Green Pine" radar and "Citron Tree" battle management center, the Arrow interceptor is capable of defeating most of the ballistic missiles deployed throughout the Middle East. Although the Arrow is a formidable anti-theater ballistic missile system, new missiles that are more advanced require that Israel improve its current capabilities. Nevertheless, the implementation of an effective ballistic missile defense architecture will have a profound effect on Israeli strategy and the future role of the Israeli Defense Forces. However, an effective missile defense system does not obviate the need to maintain robust military capabilities and the ability to prevent, preempt and retaliate.


Israel, missile defense, Arrow, patriot, ballistic missiles, nuclear, biological, chemical

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Brent A. Lord