The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) to develop a ballistic missile defense (BMD) system has both short-range and long-range risks as well as potential benefits. For the most part, however, strategic, technological, and political issues relevant to SDI have been analyzed in isolation from one another. This book provides a more inclusive framework for assessing the possible development and deployment of a BMD system by the United States or the Soviet Union. Contributors discuss the risks for arms race stability, probable reactions of the Soviet Union to any U.S. space-based defense system, and implications for the stability of extended deterrence commitments to NATO European allies. They also evaluate Soviet research and development programs in missile defense that must be considered in any extrapolation of the requirements for U.S. deterrence in the next several decades.
Introduction: Strategic Defense—Ever Promising, Ever Frustrating -- Are Ballistic Missile Defenses Necessary? Three Perspectives -- Nuclear War in a Defense-dominant World -- Is Ballistic Missile Defense a Good Idea? -- Strategic Defense: A Third View -- Point Defenses: Halfway House or Strategic Misdirection? -- Point Defense: Gateway to the SDI -- Protecting Strategic Forces: The Contribution of Point Defense to Crisis Deterrence -- SDI and the Atlantic Alliance: Strategy and Policy Issues -- SDI: The Transatlantic Challenge -- British and French Strategic Forces: Response Options to Soviet Ballistic Missile Defense -- Soviet Strategic Policy and the Impact of SDI -- The Impact of the SDI on Soviet National Security Policy -- Soviet Strategic Defense and Military Space Systems -- SDI and Arms Control: Compatible or Conflictual? -- Arms Control and Strategic Defense: The Past Need Be No Prelude -- Strategie Defense and Arms Control: Are They Compatible?