• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Lessons Learned From US Withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty

    News article from CNN announcing President George W. Bush's decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty

    Ten years ago tomorrow, the United States formally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which has defined strategic thinking for about 30 years. On Wednesday, The Heritage Foundation will host an event commemorating the 10th anniversary of the withdrawal from the treaty.

    The treaty banned the United States and the Soviet Union (and later Russia) from developing ballistic missile defense effective against long-range ballistic missile threats. As seen in Heritage’s movie 33 Minutes, President Reagan did not subscribe to the treaty’s logic and forced the Soviets to the negotiating table by vigorously pursuing the Strategic Defense Initiative, a comprehensive missile defense program for the protection of the United States.

    President George W. Bush’s decision to abandon the treaty marked the ultimate recognition that the U.S. must not render itself vulnerable to a ballistic missile attack from Iran, North Korea, or other international threats. While Moscow kept referring to the treaty as a cornerstone of strategic stability, Russia’s reaction to the U.S. withdrawal was not nearly as condemning as its previous rhetoric indicated.

    With the treaty gone, engineers and scientists could finally innovate and put their talents into the worthy task of turning President Reagan’s vision into reality. Since 2002, they have achieved significant advances in land- and sea-based defenses. The U.S. is no longer vulnerable to a limited long-range ballistic missile attack. Yet more needs to be done.

    President Obama significantly has cut the missile defense budget since he took office and indicated his willingness to negotiate away U.S. missile defense program in the arms control process. The Administration ended the Multiple Kill Vehicle program, the Airborne Laser, and the Kinetic Energy Interceptor program—all critical capabilities for the effective protection of U.S. homeland and allies.

    To catch up with the advancing ballistic missile threat, the U.S. should:

    • Expand and continually improve the Navy’s proven sea-based Aegis missile defense system,
    • Pursue and expand advanced integration of the various components of a layered missile defense system, including ground-based interceptors, and
    • Develop and deploy space-based missile defenses, particularly space-based interceptors, to counter ballistic missile attacks.
    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Lessons Learned From US Withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty

    1. zbigniewmazurak says:

      The steps Ms. Bendikova proposes are laudable, but inadequate. In addition to them, the US should:

      1) Withdraw from the New START treaty, which, in addition to cutting the US nuclear arsenal to inadequate levels, is also inhibiting US missile defense development in many ways;
      2) Revive the MKV, KEI, and ABL programs;
      3) Order 6 additional THAAD batteries and deploy them in Izmir, Incirlik, Guam, the Philippines, Qatar, and Romania;
      4) Save the 7 cruisers slated from decomissioning from mothballling, upgrade them with ABM capabilities, and use 6 of them to protect the East Coast in pairs;
      5) Recommission the decommissioned Tico class cruisers and upgrade them with ABM capabilities;
      6) Deploy PATRIOT batteries around DC, Langley, SLBM and ICBM bases, bomber bases, and in Qatar;
      7) Increase the number of GBIs in Alaska progresively up to 100;
      8) Upgrade the SM-3 Block 1B missile to be capable of intercepting IRBMs and ICBMs by 2015.

    2. Lloyd Scallan says:

      What the US should do and what the Obama administration will do should make every citizen take pause to realize Obama's intentions. He is not naive or inexperienced, He is deliberately doing what he is for a specific reason and that reason is NOT to protect this nation or it's people.

    3. O_Henry says:

      zbigniewmazurak you are most insightful. It sounds as though you dedicatedly read Janes or have very good inside experience.

      Would you please consider sending these recommendations and any additional ones that you might have to Mr. Romney while at the same time posting such things on a blog, facebook, and twitter as well? I seriously think your ideas have merit but they need to become common parlance to the citizenry of the USA.

      BTW, thank you for your participation in a “solution” rather than just a complaint.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×