Thesis Title

Ballistic Missile Defense in the Post-Cold War Era

Date of Graduation

Spring 1997


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

William Van Cleave

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


The proliferation of ballistic missiles has considerably increased in the past decade, and it is highly likely that the United States will face a direct threat from new ballistic missile countries by the turn of the century. Unlike the recent National Intelligence Estimate this does not neglect the threat from Russia and China, which have the capability to strike the United States with vast amounts of ballistic missiles equipped with nuclear, chemical and biological warheads. This thesis reviews U.S. ballistic missile defense policies and programs from the inception of the Strategic Defense Initiative, and in the context of the ABM Treaty. While there are several possible ways to deal with the ballistic missile threat, none can be relied upon completely; hence, this thesis highlights the need for ballistic missile defense for both forward deployed troops and the U.S. homeland. These defenses should include both technologically unconstrained theater missile defenses and a global defense from space.


© Matthew James Mowthorpe