Strategic Weapons: September 18, 1999


NAVY TO JOIN MISSILE DEFENSE: A new Pentagon study has shown that the planned National Missile Defense system would be enhanced by integrating sea-based missiles on Navy warships. In time of crisis, ships that are normally in US ports for training or maintenance could put to sea and provide another layer of defense against incoming missiles. Critics charge that the Navy is simply trying to get a share of the ballistic missile defense money to spend on things it is already doing (warships and Upper Tier missiles), and doubt that the idea of sending ships to sea in a crisis will be of much value since these could not block a surprise attack. Supporters note that modern intelligence systems could probably detect such an attack before it was made, and that sending the ships to sea might convince a potential attacker that such an attack would be doomed to fail, preventing it entirely.--Stephen V Cole


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