chapter
7 Pages

Introduction

The idea of constructing a missile shield capable of defending the United States, its troops overseas and its allies from the threat of ballistic missile attack has been part of the US national security debate since the 1940s.1 It has also, until recently, been a distinctively American phenomenon.2 Successive US administrations have now spent several hundred billion dollars in the pursuit of technologies designed to provide a leak-proof missile shield over the United States and return the nation to the seeming invulnerability enjoyed before the Second World War. It has only been recently – according to the US Missile Defense Agency’s Lawrence Kaplan – ‘that the US appears to have crossed the threshold between technological capability and the BMD concept, more than 60 years after it was first introduced.’3