U.S. Missile Defense Developments: How Far? How Fast?
The Obama administration continues to pursue missile defenses capable of protecting the United States against a limited long-range ballistic missile attack and U.S. allies and forces against shorter range ballistic missile threats. Despite the fact that much of the system has been fielded, questions remain about the maturity of these technologies; for example, one interceptor faces a critical test this summer to prove the “capability-enhanced kill vehicle.” Meanwhile, some members of Congress have called for expanding the U.S.-based missile defense system to an additional site to counter possible future threats from Iran and accelerating U.S. missile defense deployments in Europe in response to Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine.
On June 4, the Brookings Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative and the Union of Concerned Scientists held a panel discussion on the current state of the U.S. missile defense program and the challenges that it faces. The panel included Cristina Chaplain, U.S. Government Accountability Office; Phil Coyle, Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation (and former director of operational test and evaluation at the Department of Defense); Peppino DeBiaso, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; Laura Grego, Union of Concerned Scientists; and Dean Wilkening, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Brookings Senior Fellow Steven Pifer moderated.