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JSPES, Vol. 28, No. 1 (Spring 2003 )
pp. 31-76

Defending America from Offshore Missile Attack

Ambassador Henry F. Cooper

To build effective missile defenses, the Pentagon must overcome: 1) bureaucratic inertia from 30-years of Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty constraints that blocked even testing of the most effective defense concepts; and 2) given that President Bush withdrew from the ABM Treaty last June 13, the collective amnesia within the Pentagon, which ignores Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) technical achievements of the Reagan-Bush I years. This amnesia results from the Clinton administration's purge of the most advanced SDI technology and its emphasis on making at most minor modifications to ground-based defenses permitted by the ABM Treaty rather than investing in more effective U.S. sea- space- and air-based defenses that could not even be tested under that Treaty. Such programs could be revived to field more effective defenses in the near future.