Academic journal article Military Review

Ballistic Missile Defense in the Post-Cold War Era

Academic journal article Military Review

Ballistic Missile Defense in the Post-Cold War Era

Article excerpt

BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE IN THE POST-COLD WAR ERA

by David B.H. Den(xn. 230 pages. Westview Press, Boulder CO. 1995. $65.(Hl.

David B.H. Denoon quickly establishes his premise: US missile defense is much like catastrophic health insurance-hopefully never used. Although there is a strong argument for the cost and coverage of deterrence, Denoon calls it and its cornerstone of mutually assured destruction an "elegant doctrine for a bipolar world . . . not adequate to deal with the complexity" of a postCold War society. Instead, Denoon proposes a theater missile defense (TMD) concept for US worldwide assets and allies and a limited national missile defense (NMD) for the homeland. "Limited deterrence," says Den(x)n, must be ready, like insurance, to counter all proliferating threat types.

Theater ballistic missiles (TBMs) now pose a greater threat to US assets worldwide and allies than do intercontinental ballistic missiles. TBMs are easy to build, export and sell; can deliver chemical and biological warheads; and can be used by enemy aircraft or skillful terrorists. TBM mobile launchers are almost impossible to find and destroy, even with the most sophisticated aircraft. Thus, argues Denoon, TBMs are likely an enemy's best survivable asset. Yet, with all these options, TBM defense is much less complex than strategic defense. Because of the growing Third World TBM threat, Denoon explores why TMD is an immediate US foreign policy issue.

The NMD issue, however, is not as easy to portray. NMD, like the word "politics," has many meanings. Denoon explains how NMD has been a barbed political contest for presidents and the US Congress since the Eisenhower administration. …

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