Strategic Missile Defense: Necessities, Prospects, and Dangers in the Near Term

On October 30, 1984, a workshop met at the Stanford Center for International Security and Arms Control to examine near-term prospects for and alternative approaches to strategic defense. This report provides the results of that examination and thus represents the consensus of the signatories on a limited set of high-priority objectives and activities in strategic defense.

An earlier study by the Center gave a critical assessment of the President's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). One of its recommendations was an unspecified, treaty-consistent research and development (R&D) program in antiballistic missile (ABM) defense at "a level not very different from recent amounts." Because such an effort is also proposed herein, the present report may in that one sense be seen as a logical complement to the earlier study. However, not all of the members of this workshop endorse all of the conclusions of that study. Also, the present report is limited to the ABM research and development the United States should be pursuing in the near term (5-10 years).