Nuclear dynamics in a multipolar strategic ballistic missile defense world
Ferguson, Charles D.
MacDonald, Bruce W.
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We are focused on understanding the nuclear dynamics of a world in which more than one nation is developing and deploying ballistic missile defense systems for strategic purposes. Strategic purposes could mean for defense of a national territory, defending command and control centers, protecting nuclear-armed ballistic missiles to help ensure retaliatory forces, or providing political cover for development of anti-satellite weapons that could target strategic military communications as well as command and control satellites. Strategic BMD is distinguishable from theater missile defenses (TMD), which are designed for defending smaller areas or for providing “point” protection of military units. Strategic BMD is also typically designed to counter long-range ballistic missiles, such as intercontinental range ballistic missiles (ICBMs), especially in the context of the United States wanting protection against adversaries who are an ocean’s distance away or farther. However, in the context of neighboring nuclear adversaries such as India and Pakistan, strategic BMD would target shorter-range ballistic missiles while India would also consider strategic BMD for protection against medium- to intermediate-range Chinese ballistic missiles. In sum, strategic BMD is not so much about the range of missile threats but rather the context of national security purposes.
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