Counter Measures

National Missile Defense (NMD) is once again a growing concern in America.
There have been many new developments since the post-Cold War elimination of
nuclear warfare. This diminishing of arms however, is a very fine line. The
United States cannot afford to have less capability then the rest of the world,
but it does want to encourage unilateral non-proliferation of nuclear arms. In
addition, there is a new awareness of “rogue” nations that are completely
unpredictable. Since the post-Cold War the United States has been able to rely
on the major nations and more or less predict if they are a threatening
adversary or not. In any case, this doubt has caused the new investigation of a
possible deployment of a National Missile Defense. This movement is a huge
strategic, technical, and political decision. The consequences of such a
decision will indeed effect the next generations. In the recent decades many
treaties have come to rise, all of which have played an important part in the
growing concern of nuclear arms and the defense of American soil.


The history of ballistic missile defense is much involved and began shortly
after World War II. In the 1950’s the Soviet Union was able to deploy
submarine-based missiles capable of hitting the United States. In the 1960’s
this same arsenal appeared and expanded rapidly to land based systems. These
moves by the Soviet Union spurred a huge need for ballistic missile defense
programs in the U.S. In 1972 President Nixon and General Secretary Brezhnev
signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. This forbids a nationwide
missile defense between the United States and Russia. The treaty called for each
country to build two sites that could attempt to protect limited areas. In 1974,
it was amended allowing for:

· Each may only have on missile defense deployment site with that site
prohibited from providing a nationwide missile defense system or becoming the
basis for developing one

· At the allowed site, no more than 100 launchers/missiles may be deployed
and guidance radars must be within a circle with a diameter of 150 kilometers

· New early warning radars may only be deployed on the periphery of national
territory and oriented outward

· Non-nationwide missile defense systems may not be given nationwide
capability or tested in a nationwide mode

· The transfer of missile defense components to and deployment in foreign
countries is prohibited

· Development, testing, or deployment of sea-based, air-based, mobile
land-based, or space-based missile defense systems and their components is

During the Cold War, this treaty proved effective because both nations
understood that a building of missile defense encourages offensive force. As
long as the capability of defending oneself against nuclear attack was
preserved, each would be deterred from attacking the other. Limited national
defense programs such as President Johnson’s “Sentinel” system followed
the previous Presidential systems of the “Nike X” and “Nike Zeus”
programs. All of these were redesigned by Nixon’s “Safeguard” initiative.
On October 1, 1975, the Safeguard System using interceptors with nuclear warhead
tips were deployed. However in January of the following year, the House of
Representatives and the Senate voted to close it down because the nuclear-tipped
interceptors would blind Safeguard’s own radar systems for navigation. These
systems repeatedly failed to develop a missile defense that could cope with
long-range missile attacks. The security of the American people was at stake.
Because each was lacking a capable defense, a race started in the build-up of
tens of thousands of nuclear warheads.

The United States and Russia maintained large nuclear arsenals of strategic
and tactical nuclear weapons. In the late 1970’s the Intermediate-Range
Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty arose between the United States and Russia. For over
ten years there was debate over the specifics of what the treaty was to include.
Each nation was reluctant to give up their new technologies that they had given
so much time and money in developing. However after years of confusion and
frustration, President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev signed the treaty
at a summit meeting in Washington on December 8, 1987. At the time of its
signature, the Treaty’s verification regime was the most detailed and
stringent in the history of nuclear arms control, designed both to eliminate all
declared INF systems entirely within three years of the Treaty’s entry into
force and to ensure compliance with the total ban of possession and use of these
missiles. This included the required destruction of the Parties’
ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and
5,500 kilometers, their launchers and associated support structures and support
equipment. The Treaty entered into force upon the exchange of instruments of
ratification in Moscow on June