Proliferation poses a broad range of threats to the United States, as well as to our allies and coalition partners. Intercontinental missiles armed with weapons of mass destruction are one of these threats, and it has become obvious that rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea may be acquiring the capability to build such missiles as well as the ability to arm them with nuclear or lethal biological weapons. While such threats are now only potential ones, these shifts in technological and manufacturing capability mean that these rogue nations may be able to pose serious dangers to the American homeland, possibly as early as during the next five years. Cordesman argues that an effective defense against these threats will require linking an effective national missile defense program to an ambitious counterproliferation strategy, a strengthened homeland defense program, and a realistic approach to arms control and national security options.
Cordesman argues that these threats may create a near- to mid-term need for national missile defense (NMD), widely discussed during the Clinton Administration and which seems to be emerging as a priority for the Bush Administration. This work analyzes the options available to the United States and how they relate to the delicate balance of deterrence in the post-Cold War era. As the debate on NMD escalates, this work could not be more timely.
About the Author:
ANTHONY H. CORDESMAN is Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a military analyst for ABC News. A frequent commentator on National Public Radio, he is the author of numerous books on security issues and has served in a number of senior positions in the US government.