Date of Graduation

Fall 2016


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

John Rose


Missile defense has long played a key role in the national defense posture of the United States, despite longstanding objections from the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. To gain insights into why these objections continue, this thesis looks at three key factors: threat assessments, geopolitics, and technology (to include specific capabilities) and the impact they have on the decision-making calculus of both the United States and Russia regarding missile defense. It is believed that geopolitical considerations, stemming from the Cold War and the different values, culture, background, and experiences between the United States and Russia, are key to understanding this issue. Based on all three factors, this thesis offers implications of these factors for policy. These policy implications include, among others, the need for better understanding of Russian geopolitical views when forming missile defense policy, a suggestion to reorient the Missile Defense Agency towards research and development, and the potential need for new approaches to U.S. diplomacy with Russia.


United States, Russia, missile defense, North Korea, Iran, geopolitics

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Nathaniel Taylor Green

Open Access