The U.S. Missile Defense Shield and Global Security Destabilization: An Inconclusive Link
Missile proliferation and global stability are intrinsically linked. Missile threats continually appear at the forefront of global security issues. North Korea’s recently demonstrated nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capabilities, for the first time since the Cold War, renewed public interest in strategic missile defense capabilities. To protect from limited ICBM attacks from so-called rogue actors, the United States developed the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. This study examines if the GMD missile defense shield has contributed to a safer world or triggered a new arms race. Based upon increased missile-related developments and the lack of adherence to international missile treaties, it is generally perceived that the GMD system is a destabilizing factor for global security. By examining the current state of arms control treaties as well as existing missile arsenals and ongoing efforts in technologies to overcome U.S. missile defenses, this study seeks to analyze the contribution of GMD to global stability. A thorough investigation cannot ignore that, through the establishment of this limited capability, the U.S. violated longstanding, successful weapons treaties and caused concern among states that possess ICBMs. GMD capability contributes to the perception that ICBM arsenals could become ineffective, creating an imbalance in favor of the United States, leading to increased global instability and tension. While blame for the deterioration of global stability and non-adherence to arms control treaties is often placed on U.S. missile defense, the facts do not necessarily support this view. The notion of a renewed arms race due to GMD is supported neither by current missile arsenals nor by the inevitable development of new and enhanced missile technology, to include multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles (MIRVs), maneuverable reentry vehicles (MaRVs), and hypersonic glide vehicles (HGVs). The methodology in this study encapsulates a period of time, pre- and post-GMD introduction, while analyzing international treaty adherence, missile counts and types, and research in new missile technologies. The decline in international treaty adherence, coupled with a measurable increase in the number and types of missiles or research in new missile technologies during the period after the introduction of GMD, could be perceived as a clear indicator of GMD contributing to global instability. However, research into improved technology (MIRV, MaRV and HGV) prior to GMD, as well as a decline of various global missile inventories and testing of systems during this same period, would seem to invalidate this theory. U.S. adversaries have exploited the perception of the U.S. missile defense shield as a destabilizing factor as a pretext to strengthen and modernize their militaries and justify their policies. As a result, it can be concluded that global stability has not significantly decreased due to GMD; but rather, the natural progression of technological and missile development would inherently include innovative and dynamic approaches to target engagement, deterrence, and national defense.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3299365Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 869
 A. Troianovski, “Putin claims Russia is developing nuclear arms capable of avoiding missile defenses,” The Washington Post, Mar. 2018.
 Z. Laub, “The Impact of the Iran Nuclear Agreement,” Council on Foreign Relations, May 2018, https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/impact-iran-nuclear-agreement.
 I. Ali and M. Stone, “North Korea 'most urgent' threat to security: Mattis,” Reuters, Jun. 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-northkorea/north-korea-most-urgent-threat-to-security-mattis-idUSKBN19407I.
 Joint Missile Defense Training, Common Course Student Reference Supplement, Joint BMD Training & Education Center, 2016.
 Center of Military History, History of Strategic Air and Ballistic Missile Defense, Volume I: 1945-1955, United States Army, 2009.
 Center of Military History, History of Strategic Air and Ballistic Missile Defense, Volume I: 1956-1972, United States Army, 2009.
 Department of Defense, “Nike Zeus: The U.S. Army’s First Antiballistic Missile,” Missile Defense Agency, 2009, https://www.mda.mil/global/documents/pdf/zeus.pdf.
 “U.S.-Russia Nuclear Arms Control: 1949-2010,” Council on Foreign Relations. https://www.cfr.org/timeline/us-russia-nuclear-arms-control.
 D. Kimball and R. Kingston, “The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty at a Glance,” Arms Control Association, Aug. 2012, https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/abmtreaty.
 Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces, “Another Test of the New Interceptor of the Moscow Missile Defense System,” Apr. 2018, http://russianforces.org/blog/2018/04/another_test_of_the_new_interc.shtml.
 BMDS Student Reference Supplement, MDA BMDS Executive Seminar, Joint BMDS Training & Education Center, 2009.
 R. Reagan, “Address to the Nation on Defense and National Security,” Reagan Library, Mar. 1983, https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/research/speeches/32383d.
 L. L.Lazzari, “The Strategic Defense Initiative and the End of the Cold War,” Monterey, CA: Calhoun: The Navy Postgraduate School Institutional Archive. Thesis Master of Arts in Security Studies (Europe, Eurasia), Naval Postgraduate School, Mar. 2008.
 CSIS Missile Defense Project, Missile Threat, “Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) System,” Center for Strategic International Studies, https://missilethreat.csis.org/system/gmd/.
 B. E. Bowen, “Ballistic Missile Defence and 21st Century Stability in International Relations,” E-International Relations Student, Sep. 2009, http://www.e-ir.info/2009/09/01/is-ballistic-missile-defence-bmd-a-source-of-stability-or-instability-for-states-in-international-relations-in-the-twenty-first-century/.
 V. Stephanova, “Missile Defense in Central Europe: The View from Moscow,” Washington University, 2007, pp. 19-33.
 Union of Concerned Scientists, “Why a Third Missile Defense Site Does Not Make Sense,” 2017, https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/attach/2017/01/East-Coast-Missile-Sites.pdf.
 S. Pifer, “Nuclear Modernization, Arms Control, and U.S.-Russia Relations,” The Brookings Institution, 2016, https://www.brookings.edu/research/nuclear-modernization-arms-control-and-u-s-russia-relations/.
 K. N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press Inc., 1979.
 R. Person, “Balance of Threat: The Domestic Insecurity of Vladimir Putin,” Journal of Eurasian Studies, vol. 8, no. 1, Jan. 2017.
 L. Grego, “US Ground-based Midcourse Missile Defense: Expensive and Unreliable,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 74, no. 4, Jun. 2018.
 A. Arbatrov and V. Dvorkin, “Missile Defense: Confrontation and Cooperation,” Carnegie Moscow Center Transl. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2013.
 S. L. Quackenbush, “National Missile Defense and Deterrence,” Sage Journals, Political Research Quarterly, University of Utah, Dec. 2006, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/106591290605900403.
 U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Committee on Armed Forces, “Statement of General Kevin P. Chilton before the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces,” Mar. 2010, https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record.
 G. S. Bowen, “Ballistic Missile Defense and Deterrence: Not Mutually Exclusive,” U.S. Army War College, 2010, http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a526100.pdf.
 R. L. Heinrichs, “The Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System: Myths and Facts,” Hudson Institute, Jul. 2016.
 F. Lamb, “Current Status of the U.S. Ground-Based Missile Defense System. Program,” Program in Arms Control & Domestic and International Security, 2017, https://acdis.illinois.edu/publications-2/the-acdis-blog/current-status-of-the-u-s-ground-based-missile-defense-system/.
 D.Kimball, “START I at a Glance,” Arms Control Association, Feb. 2019, https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/start1.
 Defense Threat Reduction Agency, “Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program,” http://www.dtra.mil/Mission/Partnering/Cooperative-Threat-Reduction-Program/.
 J. M. Lindsay, “The Nuclear Agenda: Arms Control and Missile Defense Are Back in the News,” The Brookings Institution, Sep. 2000.
 A. Simon, “The Patriot Missile. Performance in the Gulf War Reviewed,” Center for Defense Information, Jul. 1996, https://gulflink.health.mil/scud_info/scud_info_refs/n41en141/Patriot.html.
 G. Bradley, “Hit to Kill: The New Battle Over Shielding America from Missile Attack,” Cambridge, MA: Public Affairs, 2001.
 R. M. Gates, Duty, Memoirs of a Secretary at War, New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2014.
 J. Sankaran, “The United States' European Phased Adaptive Approach Missile Defense System: Defending Against Iranian Missile Threats Without Diluting the Russian Deterrent,” Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2015, https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR957.html.
 Missile Defense Advocacy, “European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA),” Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, Oct. 2018, http://missiledefenseadvocacy.org/missile-defense-systems-2/missile-defense-systems/policy-coming-soon/european-phased-adaptive-approach-epaa/.
 CNN Wire Staff, “President Obama hails progress made by lame-duck Congress,” CNN Politics, Dec. 2010, http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/12/22/obama.news.conference/index.html.
 T. Graham, “Congress Must Preserve the INF Treaty with Russia,” The National Interest, Jul. 2017, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/congress-must-preserve-the-inf-treaty-russia-21599.
 A. E. Kramer, “Russia Calls New U.S. Missile Defense System a ‘Direct Threat’,” New York Times, May 2016.
 K. Reif, “As INF Treaty Falls, New START Teeters,” Arms Control Association, Mar. 2019, https://www.armscontrol.org/taxonomy/term/514.
 H. M. Kristensen and R. S. Norris, “Russian Nuclear Forces, 2018,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 74, no. 3, 2018, pp.185-195, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00963402.2018.1462912?needAccess=true&.
 N. Novichkov, “Avangard Hypersonic Glide Vehicle,” Jane’s 360. Jan. 2019, https://www.janes.com/article/85511/russia-announces-successful-flight-test-of-avangard-hypersonic-glide-vehicle.
 A. Mehta, “One Nuclear Treaty is Dead. Is New START Next?,” Defense News, Oct. 2018, https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2018/10/23/one-nuclear-treaty-is-dead-is-new-start-next.
 U.S. Defense Department, “Nuclear Posture Review,” U.S. Department of Defense, 2018, https://media.defense.gov/2018/Feb/02/2001872886/-1/-1/1/2018-NUCLEAR-POSTURE-REVIEW-FINAL-REPORT.PDF.
 A. Osborn, “After Putin's Warning, Russian TV Lists Nuclear Targets in U.S.,” Reuters, Feb. 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-nuclear-russia/after-putins-warning-russian-tv-lists-nuclear-targets-in-u-s-idUSKCN1QE1DM.
 US Air Force Defense Intelligence Ballistic Missile Analysis Committee, “Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat,” National Air and Space Intelligence Center, 2017, https://www.nasic.af.mil/Portals/ 19/images/Fact%20Sheet%20Images/2017%20Ballistic%20and%20Cruise%20Missile%20Threat_Final_small.pdf?ver=2017-07-21-083234-343.
 A.Panda, “The Uncertain Future of the INF Treaty,” Council on Foreign Relations, Feb. 2018, https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/uncertain-future-inf-treaty.
 Arms Control Association, “Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: China,” Arms Control Association, Jul. 2017, https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/chinaprofile.
 Office of the Secretary of Defense, “Missile Defense Review,” U.S. Department of Defense, 2019, https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Interactive/2018/11-2019-Missile-Defense-Review/The%202019%20MDR_Executive%20Summary.pdf.
 W. Boese, “U.S. Withdraws from ABM Treaty; Global Response Muted,” Arms Control Association, Jul. 2002, https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2002_07-08/abmjul_aug02.
 G. W. Bush, “Statement on Formal Withdrawal From the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty,” The American Presidency Project, Jun. 2002, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=73037.
 CSIS Missile Defense Project, “Missile Threat. Missiles of Russia,” Center for Strategic International Studies, 2018, https://missilethreat.csis.org/country/russia/.
 H. M. Kristensen and R. S. Norris, “Chinese Nuclear Forces, 2018,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 74, no. 4, 2018, pp. 289-295, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00963402.2018.1486620?scroll=top&needAccess=true.
 H. M. Kristensen and R. S. Norris, “North Korean Nuclear Capabilities, 2018,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 2018, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00963402.2017.1413062?needAccess=true.
 A. Panda, “5 Takeaways on North Korea's Ballistic Missile Overflight of Japan,” The Diplomat, Aug. 2017, https://thediplomat.com/2017/08/5-takeaways-on-north-koreas-ballistic-missile-overflight-of-japan/.
 J. D. Pollack, “North Korea’s Nuclear and Missile Programs: Strategies, Directions, and Prospects,” The Brookings Institution, 2018, https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/fp_20180202_north_koreas_nuclear_missile_program.pdf.
 S. LaGrone, “Jane’s: North Korea’s Nukes Are ‘Unreliable and Underwhelming’,” USNI News, Apr. 2013, https://news.usni.org/2013/04/12/janes-north-koreas-nukes-are-unreliable-and-underwhelming.
 S. Neuman, “North Korea Reportedly Expanding Ballistic Missile Production Facility,” National Public Radio, Jul. 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/07/02/625267839/north-korea-reportedly-expanding-ballistic-missile-production-facility.
 T. Karako and I. Williams, “The Forthcoming Missile Defense Review,” Center for Strategic International Studies, Apr. 2018, https://www.csis.org/analysis/forthcoming-missile-defense-review.
 M. Ellemann, “North Korea-Iran Missile Cooperation,” 38 North, Sep. 2016, https://www.38north.org/2016/09/melleman092216/.
 UN Security Council, “Resolution 1929 (2010)”, United Nations, Jun. 2010, https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/unsc_res1929-2010.pdf.
 M. Ellemann, “Why Iran’s satellite launch does not amount to an ICBM test,” IISS, Jan. 2019, https://www.iiss.org/blogs/analysis/2019/01/iran-satellite-launch.
 P. Rao, “How North Korea was Armed,” Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis, Oct. 2017, https://idsa.in/issuebrief/how-north-korea-was-armed_prao_301017.
 K. Giles and A. Monaghan, European Missile Defense and Russia, US Army Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College Press, 2015.