- The international safeguards system is a system of treaties and inspections administered and conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency to hinder nuclear weapons proliferation.
The Safeguard Program was a United States Army anti-ballistic missile system developed during the late 1960s. Safeguard was designed to protect U.S. ICBM missile sites from counterforce attack, thus preserving the option of an unimpeded retaliatory strike. Safeguard used much of the same technology of the earlier Sentinel Program, which had been designed to protect U.S. cities.
Sentinel was developed but never deployed. Safeguard was planned for several sites within the United States, but only one was completed. Until the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system was deployed, the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard complex in Nekoma, North Dakota, with the separate long-range detection radar located further north near the town of Cavalier, North Dakota, was the only operational anti-ballistic missile system ever deployed by the United States. It defended Minuteman ICBM missile silos near the Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota.
It had reinforced underground launchers for thirty Spartan and sixteen Sprint nuclear tipped missiles (an additional fifty or so Sprint missiles were deployed at four remote launch sites). The complex was deactivated during 1976 after being operational for less than four months, due to concerns over continuing an anti-missile-missile arms race, cost, effectiveness, and changing political rhetoric.
The Russian counterpart to the Safeguard system was the Soviet A-35 anti-ballistic missile system, which defended Moscow and nearby missile fields. The Russian anti-missile-missile system remains in operation today as the upgraded A-135 anti-ballistic missile system.
Safeguard was a two-layer defense system. The long-range Spartan missile would attempt interception outside the Earth's atmosphere. The missile's long range allowed protection of a large geographic area. If the Spartan failed to intercept the incoming offensive missile, the high performance & high speed (but short range) Sprint missile would attempt an interception within the atmosphere. Both missiles used nuclear warheads, and they relied on destroying or damaging the incoming warhead with radiation rather than heat or blast. The Spartan carried a weapon with a 5 megaton yield; the Sprint in the kiloton range.
The envisioned sequence was as follows: first detection of enemy launch by Defense Support Program satellites, which sense the hot infrared exhaust of the ICBM booster. Then while in the mid-course phase, the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System radars in the far north would detect the incoming warheads. As the warheads approached (but while still in outer space) the Safeguard long-range radar (called the Perimeter Acquisition Radar, or PAR) would detect them, providing filtered information to the shorter-range and more precise Missile Site Radar (MSR). While the incoming warhead came within range of the MSR, the associated computer systems would calculate intercept trajectories and launch times.
Original deployment plan 
Plans were made in the late 1960s to deploy Safeguard systems in three locations, Whiteman AFB, Missouri, Malmstrom AFB, Montana, and Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota, to protect important strategic weapons assets. However the Whiteman AFB location was canceled despite the fact that specific missile and radar site locations had already been selected. Construction was actually commenced at the North Dakota and Montana sites, but only the North Dakota site was completed. Remnants of the incomplete PAR system still remain in rural Montana.
The Safeguard system consisted of several primary components, the Perimeter Acquisition Radar, the Missile Site Radar, the Spartan missile launchers, co-located Sprint missile launchers, and Remote Sprint missile launchers.
Perimeter Acquisition Radar (PAR) 
The PAR was a large phased array radar that was intended to detect incoming ballistic missile warheads as they crossed over the North Pole region. This information was to be relayed to other command and control sites. Two were intended to be constructed on the northern border of the United States, one in Montana and one in North Dakota. Construction was begun at both locations, but because of the ratification of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM treaty), only the site in North Dakota was completed. As of 2006, the North Dakota site, near Cavalier, North Dakota, is still operational and located at Cavalier Air Force Station . Remnants of the Montana site are located east of Conrad, Montana, at (not shown on topo, but visible on the aerial photo). Potential targets detected by the PAR would be sent to the Missile Site Radar (MSR) and to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). The PAR site is listed in the Historic American Engineering Record, survey ND-9-P.
Missile Site Radar (MSR) 
The Missile Site Radar was the control of the Safeguard system. It housed the computers and a phased array radar necessary to track and hit back at incoming ICBM warheads. The radar building itself is a pyramid structure several stories tall. Construction was begun in both Montana and North Dakota, but only the North Dakota site remains standing. The North Dakota site is still there, and it can be seen north of Nekoma, North Dakota, at . The remnants of the Montana system were dismantled and buried. It was possibly located at . Structures similar to the North Dakota site can be seen on aerial photography pictures of that site. The MSR complex included the Spartan missile and some Sprint missile launchers. The MSR is listed in the Historic American Engineering Record, survey ND-9-B.
Remote Sprint Launchers (RSL) 
Remote Sprint Launchers were established around the MSR main complex in order to place missile launchers closer to their intended targets, and thus reduce the flight range to the targets. Four sites were completed, and they still remain there, 10 to 20 miles around the MSR complex in Nekoma, North Dakota.
- RSL 1
- RSL 2
- RSL 3
- RSL 4
Photo gallery 
See also 
- The Sentinel Program
- Strategic Defense Initiative
- Anti-ballistic missile (anti-missile-missile)
- Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
- Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty
- Cavalier Air Force Station
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Safeguard Program missiles|
- Unofficial website of the Stanley R. Mickelson Safeguard complex
- map showing SRMSC components in North Dakota
- Stanley R. Mickelson Safeguard Antiballistic Missile Complex
- FAS - Safeguard system
- 10th Space Warning Squadron - Current operators of the PAR system
- Global Security - Malstrom ABM site
- Aerial images of Safeguard ABM facilities
- Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex, Nekoma vicinity, Cavalier, ND at the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), with many additional documents on individual elements
- Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex, Missile Launch Area, Within Exclusion Area, Nekoma vicinity, Cavalier, ND at HAER
- Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex, Remote Sprint Launch Site No. 1, Just South of Ramsey-Cavalier County line & 3 miles West of Hampden, ND, Nekoma vicinity, Cavalier, ND at HAER