In the past, debates regarding the strategic impact of ballistic missile defense were largely theoretical because few systems were ever deployed. This is no longer the case. Today, the United States has begun to deploy BMD systems against short, intermediate and long-range ballistic missiles. Moreover, many of these systems are either transportable or mobile (e.g., the PAC-3, THAAD and Aegis BMD systems) and, hence, can be deployed to protect US allies and US forces overseas. In addition, some foreign governments have expressed interest in deploying such systems, notably Japan. Japan's interest in ballistic missile defense has moved beyond joint research and development and is entering the deployment phase. This raises the issue of the strategic impact of regional BMD systems in Northeast Asia, in particular, whether US/Japanese BMD systems will be effective against emerging North Korean ballistic missile threats and, if so, what impact these BMD systems might have on Chinese ballistic missile capabilities. This seminar will delve into the military/technical capability of regional BMD systems and provide a preliminary assessment of their strategic impact.
Dean Wilkening directs the Science Program at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University and spent 13 years at the RAND Corporation prior to coming to Stanford in 1996. His major research interests have been nuclear strategy and policy, arms control, the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, ballistic missile defense, and conventional force modernization. His most recent research focuses on ballistic missile defense and biological terrorism. His work on missile defense focuses on the broad strategic and political implications of deploying national and theater missile defenses, in particular, the impact of theater missile defense in Northeast Asia, and the technical feasibility of boost-phase interceptors for national and theater missile defense. His work on biological weapons focuses on understanding the scientific and technical uncertainties associated with predicting the outcome of hypothetical airborne biological weapon attacks, with the aim of devising more effective civil defenses, and a reanalysis of the accidental anthrax release in 1979 from a Russian military compound in Sverdlovsk with the aim of improving our understanding of the human effects of inhalation anthrax.