Space and Missile Defense Challenges: National Missile Defense—Protecting Our Nation

November 6, 2000

After fifty years of research and development of ballistic missiles and missile defense systems, and many aborted attempts to field systems designed to provide a limited missile defense for the homeland, today the United States still has no capability to defend itself against even one incoming ballistic missile. The President’s recent decision to delay a national missile defense (NMD) deployment decision to the next administration provides more time for testing and evaluating of NMD components, but puts into question our nation’s ability to meet the emerging threat. It also reopened the door for increased debate on the form a future NMD capability should take—land-, sea-, air- or space-based, or a combination of some or all. But the single option that meets the threat within the next decade remains the land-based option