The Nuclear Missile Defense Shield project of the United States of America is a very complex project that involves the production of new weapons and the installation of U.S. military bases in different parts of the planet. In particular, in Europe, the first step is to install a radar system in the Czech Republic, as well as a base for intercepting missiles in Poland.
In a dangerous world, protecting America's national security requires a strong military. Today, America has the most capable, best-trained and best-led military force in the world. But much needs to be done to maintain our military leadership, retain our technological advantage, and ensure that America has a modern, agile military force able to meet the diverse security challenges of the 21st century.
The development and deployment of theater and national missile defenses. Effective missile defenses are critical to protect America from rogue regimes like North Korea that possess the capability to target America with intercontinental ballistic missiles, from outlaw states like Iran that threaten American forces and American allies with ballistic missiles, and to hedge against potential threats from possible strategic competitors like Russia and China.
Effective missile defenses are also necessary to allow American military forces to operate overseas without being deterred by the threat of missile attack from a regional adversary.
Missile Defence, or “Star Wars” as it's sometimes known, was first dreamt up by President Ronald Reagan’s administration in the 1980's and the version that is currently being developed is a toned down version of the same plan. In the 1990s and early 21st century, the mission of missile defense has changed to the more modest goal of preventing the United States from being subject to nuclear blackmail or nuclear terrorism by a so-called rogue state. The feasibility of this more limited goal remains somewhat controversial. Under President Clinton some testing continued, but the project received little funding despite Clinton's supportive remarks on 5 September 2000 that "such a system, if it worked properly, could give us an extra dimension of insurance in a world where proliferation has complicated the task of preserving peace."
The current NMD system consists primarily of ground based interceptor missiles and radar in Alaska which would intercept incoming warheads in space. A limited number of interceptor missiles (about 10) are operational as of 2006. These would possibly be later augmented by mid-course SM-4 interceptors fired from Navy ships and by boost-phase interception by the Boeing YAL-1.
NMD deployment is planned in three phases. The first phase is called Capability 1 (C1), and was originally designed to counter a limited threat from up to about five warheads with either simple or no countermeasures. More recently this phase has been upgraded to include the deployment of up to 100 interceptors and would be aimed at countering tens of warheads. This would require radar upgrades. Since North Korea is perceived to be the earliest missile threat, the interceptors and radar would be deployed in Alaska.
The second phase is called C2 and designed to counter an attack by warheads with more complex countermeasures. It would deploy additional radars and more interceptors, plus a missile-tracking satellite system. The C3 phase is supposed to counter threats consisting of many complex warheads. It would deploy additional radars as well as additional interceptors, including some at a second site, bringing the total to 200 or more. Although the C3 system is the current final deployment goal, the system design permits further expansion and upgrades beyond the C3 level. A Pentagon study concluded that the NMD system could be upgraded by integrating the hundreds of interceptors to be deployed as part of the ship-based Navy Theater Wide missile defense system. These interceptors would be integrated into the sensor infrastructure of the NMD system.
President George W. Bush made missile defense a top priority following the Sept 11 2001 attacks on New York City. Bush withdrew the US from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, a treaty between the US and the Soviet Union (now Russia) that ended the Cold War arms race. The Bush Administration proposed a multi-national defence system that would protect all US territories and other participating countries. It considers Iran and North Korea to be the biggest threats to Western security.
Under Bush the budget for missile defense soared.
The budget he inherited upon taking office in 2001 had $4.8 billion for missile defense. The next year it jumped to $7.8 billion; this year it is nearly $10 billion. Over the course of Bush's eight years as president the cumulative total likely will hit $70 billion. That compares with missile defense budgets totaling about $36 billion over the prior 10 years.
Source McCain, Wikipedia, Politicalbase, USAtoday