Strategic Nuclear Forces and Missile
• endorse the truly “national” limited land-based national missile defense (NMD) system currently under development; • eschew grandiose sea- and space-based missile defenses— which are unnecessary, expensive “international” systems designed to protect wealthy U.S. allies and friends and provide a robust shield for unneeded U.S. interventions overseas; • pressure the new administration to slow development of landbased missile defense so that the system can be thoroughly tested under realistic conditions before a decision is made to deploy it; • encourage the U.S. administration to offer deep cuts in offensive strategic nuclear forces—down to a maximum of 1,500 warheads (the Russian proposal)—in exchange for Russian acquiescence to a limited U.S. land-based NMD; and • reduce the triad of U.S. nuclear forces—nuclear-capable bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and sealaunched ballistic missiles (SLBMs)—to a dyad.
To date, the debate surrounding national missile defense (NMD) has been dominated by political rhetoric. Supporters (usually conservatives) often paint a “doom-and gloom” picture, pointing out that the United States is vulnerable to attack by ballistic missiles. Critics (usually liberals) defend the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty as the cornerstone of nuclear deterrence and stability and argue that any defensive deployment would upset the balance between the offensive strategic forces of the United States and Russia.