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Michaela Dodge specializes in missile defense, nuclear weapons modernization and arms control as policy analyst for defense and strategic policy in The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies. Read her research.
The Pentagon commemorated the 36th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative in dramatic fashion on Monday by reaching a new technological milestone.
Test - Midcourse - Defense - System - Threat
The military conducted a successful test of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system against the most complex simulated threat to date.
On March 23, 1983, in that historic speech to the nation, Reagan asked:
People - Secure - Knowledge - Security - Threat
What if free people could live secure in the knowledge that their security did not rest upon the threat of instant U.S. retaliation to deter a Soviet attack, that we could intercept and destroy strategic ballistic missiles before they reached our own soil or that of our allies?
Monday’s test validates the wisdom of his vision born from the Strategic Defense Initiative program. The Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system is currently the only system protecting the United States against long-range ballistic missiles, such as those that North Korea periodically threatens to use against us.
People - Vision - Courage
It never would have been possible without people of vision and the courage to dream big.
Monday’s test involved a simulated intercontinental-range ballistic missile target and two Ground-Based Midcourse Defense interceptors.
Interceptor - Target - Lethal - Object - Threat
The first interceptor successfully destroyed the target, while the second intercepted the second-most lethal object in the threat cloud since the primary target was already destroyed—exactly the result that the Pentagon hoped for.
The test involved a first-ever Ground-Based Midcourse Defense salvo-engagement and utilized space, sea, and ground-based radar data. The test is welcome good news for a program that has had difficulties in prior years with performance.
Success - Test - Attention - Intercepts
While the success of this test is remarkable, too much attention placed on successful intercepts is not particularly...
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