Vol. 29, No. 2 (Summer
BMD - Fact & Fiction
Eugene Fox & Stanley Orman
The Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) program initiated by President
Reagan under the name Strategic Defense Initiative has now been
in development for a full 20 years. During that time the annual
budget has grown from around $3B to over $9B, with well over
$70B having been expended.
The Defense Secretary has stated that BMD has now become the
number one priority program. In light of that statement it seems
reasonable to assess the progress being made against the stated
requirements for the system. In this article we review what
has been accomplished, and assess the realism of achieving an
effective defense against the broad range of missiles that are
being developed and proliferated around the world.
The present program calls for the deployment of a ground based
defense system in Alaska later this year, with improvements
to the system to be incorporated periodically as technology
matures. We conclude that without the introduction of space-based
interceptors and a far more rigorous testing program, the present
program is inadequate to meet the stated requirement.