A Strategic Defense Initiative

This is not your father's "Star Wars." Missile Defense is real, it's coming, and it will be a indispensible instrument of American power.

Issue: Summer 2004

The terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, were both good and bad news for the Bush Administration's early commitment to the near-term deployment of defenses against ballistic missiles. The good news was that the vulnerability of the American homeland to devastating attack was demonstrated to be real, not merely a figment of the overactive imagination of Reagan-era strategists. The bad news, on the other hand, was that the method of attack utilized by the terrorists involved neither ballistic missiles nor nuclear weapons. Al-Qaeda's largely unanticipated concept--the use of fuel-laden commercial airliners in suicide missions to produce enhanced conventional explosive effects--inflicted less damage than might be anticipated from most so-called weapons of mass destruction, but it was well suited to a technically constrained and low-budget terrorist organization.

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