Talk:United States national missile defense

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Discuss changes made[edit]

I've made significant changes to the article. Goal was to correct inaccuracies, remove a few lingering POV items, improve readability. If any issues with changes, discuss here. The preceding unsigned comment was added by Joema (talk • contribs) .

The NATO name, Galosh, should probably be mentioned like all the others listed in Category:Soviet Cold War surface-to-air missiles. --Dual Freq 00:13, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback. My concerns are:
  • When referring to the system we should use the system name, and when referring to the missile, the missile name. Doing otherwise is like referring to Safeguard as the Sprint system. The initial Moscow ABM system name was A-35, and it used the Galosh (SH-01/ABM-1) interceptor. The current system name is A-135, and it uses two interceptors: Gazelle (SH-08/ABM-3), and Gorgon (SH-11/ABM-4).
  • This and related articles sometimes refer to the current Russian interceptor as Galosh, when it's Gorgon. If mentioning the initial Moscow interceptor, it's Galosh. If mentioning the current two interceptors, they're Gorgon & Gazelle.
I've tried to make these more consistent, but I may have messed up somewhere. Let me know if you see that, or just make the change. I agree using the NATO name when referring to the interceptor makes sense. Joema 00:52, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
You might want to be careful with wikilinking to redirects or dab pages. ABM instead of just ABM. I think I saw a couple of those, but I'm not sure which article or even if you created them. --Dual Freq 12:17, 22 February 2006 (UTC)
I removed a broken link: "Report of the APS Study Group on Boost-Phase Intercept Systems for National Missile Defense - 15 July 2003" Bersbach (talk) 16:15, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Revert statement about warheads and decoy balloons[edit]

Statement said: "However, the warhead itself was not wrapped in a balloon (as would be likely in a realistic scenario), so it was relatively easy to tell the decoys apart from the balloons."

This isn't supported by the cited reference. The reference doesn't specifically say the warhead was not concealed within a decoy balloon, unless I missed it. It also doesn't say a realistic scenario likely would include concealed warheads. I agree it sounds plausible under some circumstances (depends on attacker and scenario). However it is supposition unless explicitly stated by a credible reference with specific detailed knowledge of the situation. Joema 04:47, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Existing, Planned or Proposed?[edit]

The section "Current NMD program" is vague. The title suggests that this system exists, but the prevalence of the word "would" suggests otherwise. Author: please clarify status. Carrionluggage 05:54, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

The system currently exists and is operational with limited capability. The "would" applies to later phases having more capability. Changed wording to clarify this. Joema 13:27, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Lasers are mentioned as a future possibility. However, there is no way that lasers will ever be used in the NMD program. Way too much energy is required to generate a laser powerful enough to destroy a missle. This isn't star wars, physics still applies in this universe.
Also, I know that this isn't the proper forum for debate, however, if you're just a person with a keyboard in front of them, don't talk like you know more about the missile defense program than the hundreds of engineers working on it. You aren't smarter than they are. Saying things like "it will never work" are idiotic without some sort of logical explanation. 03:54, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
Lasers are near deployment for missile defense. The Northrop Skyguard system may be operational around 2008 to defend against short-range rockets: [1]. The Boeing YAL-1 airborne laser has been delayed, but a missile shootdown test is planned for 2008: [2] Joema 05:15, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
What happens when a missile has a shiny casing, such as stainless steel? Defense against short-range rockets is not really a National Defense. According to a former intelligence officer, lasers are useless against ICBM's: [3] 00:29, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
The Boeing ABL is planned for use against ICBMs in boost phase; it's not just for short range rockets. The cited article does not say lasers are useless against ICBMs. There are ways to counter any defense, but the purpose of a Wikipedia article is to describe the topic, not debate the pros/cons or engage in a critical analysis. Joema 13:10, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
The purpose of any wikipedia article is indeed to describe the topic. However this description would have to include any significant controversy about the effectiveness and would also have to mention any significant critical analysis. Of course, we are only talking about properly sourced material, any speculation by editors on any matter in wikipedia is outside of the purpose of wikipedia and should take place in other forums, not here Nil Einne 03:01, 7 June 2007 (UTC)


It could very well just be me, but this article seems to be biased against the National Defense System. Could just be the fact that I'm a little tired though. Just throwing that out there! Ittan 04:29, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it does appear so. For example, the section on the Sentinel program lists a whole series of arguments against deployment, referencing an article in Air Defense Artillery Magazine. At first glance, it's highly suspicious that this service magazine would get itself involved in such a discussion (if for no other reason that the Constitution forbids military personnel, while acting in their professional capacity, to insert themselves into political discussions). Indeed, if you click on the link to the magazine article and read it, it presents no such a list of arguments. Further, one of the arguments in the Wiki list asserts that Sentinel would dilute the DoD's Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) policy. Of course, by 1963 when Sentinel was announced, MAD (if it was ever called that officially - it's hard to believe any self-respecting bureaucrat would open up his government to ridicule by calling its nuclear deterrence policy MAD) had been replaced by Flexible Response (which you never hear about because it doesn't sound like something out of Dr. Strangelove). In the context of Flexible Response (where a proportional retaliatory strike is promised any aggressor), Sentinel makes perfect sense as it would help negate the effects of the enemy's initial strike while protecting the retaliatory forces needed for the response. This whole article reads like it was written by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Jmdeur (talk) 18:43, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
An encyclopedia article should not take a pro or con position on the topic, but describe it. However certain topics have a controversial history, so complete article coverage will reflect that. The article isn't biased, but accurately conveys historical developments. Sentinel was canceled for the reasons stated. Regarding the Sentinel section, I added some additional references to clarify the basis for the wording. The term "Mutual Assured Destruction" was apparently coined in the early 1960s by Donald Brennan, an analyst at Hudson Institute. The official terminology used by former secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was "assured-destruction"[4]. However the term MAD has been commonly applied by historians, politicians and military leaders alike. Joema (talk) 13:40, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Remove pre-SDI era history[edit]

A lot of this article focuses on general ABM issues long before the term NMD was ever used. I propose this material should be removed. It's already well covered in the ABM article, and by including it here it incorrectly implies that these earlier projects were also considered NMD -- they were not, the term simply wasn't used. Maury 19:39, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

The article includes historical ABM systems because those were planned national defense systems. Other sources show these are historically classified as such: [5], [6]. There is excessive redundancy between this article and Anti-ballistic missile. Ideally that should be reconciled, but it's a lot of work to do properly. Another problem is Anti-ballistic missile should focus on the missile itself, not the entire defensive system, of which the physical missile is only one component. Yet another problem is the ABM article by definition includes all ABMs, regardless of range and capability. Thus Patriot PAC-3 is an ABM, but not a national defense missile. Historical information about earlier NMD systems seems to better fit the NMD article than the ABM article.
The ABM and NMD articles evolved side-by-side, without proper thought regarding duplication, focus and emphasis. Ideally both articles should be restructured reduce these issues. But I don't think just deleting historical material from this article is a good idea. Joema 14:14, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Again though, the NMD references you have are all very modern, both are from after 2000. I am quite well read on the ABM debate during the time it was taking place, and I do not recall the term being used even once. If people today are using the term to describe the ABM debate, then that is certainly worth mentioning, but retroactively reclassifying the terminology seems quite suspect.
And to reverse the claim, "ABM" at the time implied only what is today called NMD. There were no systems dedicated to anything other than wide-area coverage against strategic threats (HAWK/Sea Dart notwithstanding). TBM's didn't even exist as a class at that time, and since the targets in question were BM's attacking cities of another country, IRBM, ICBM and SLBM's all had similar profiles and performance -- very much less than today actually (Polaris RV's were subsonic, ~250 mph IIRC).
My concern here is that if someone were to pick up an article from the 1960s when the first debate was taking place, then came here to read up about ABM's, they would be quite confused -- especially if we reduce that article to the missiles only. Likewise if someone picks up just about any reference to NMD, even fairly recent ones, this article will likewise be confusing. I'm sure the US gov does this deliberately to confuse people, but our job is to reverse that damage!
Maury 19:48, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
Admittedly the term "national missile defense" is difficult. That's why the various usages are explained first section. One of those is any national antimissile system. Thus used, both Sentinel and SDI were planned NMD systems, hence the inclusion.
As explained in the 1st section, the article isn't just about the current U.S. NMD system. Indeed, even that term was redefined in 2002. Rather the article covers national missile defense in general, including historical precursors to current systems.
Re whether the term "national missile defense" was used during the 1960s or not: We classify items by current usage, e.g, we call early cars "automobiles", even though back then they were called "horseless carriages". The references I posted showed precedent for today referring to earlier national ABM systems as national missile defense systems.
I made a few article changes to tighten up wording along these lines.
I agree upon 2nd thought restricting the ABM article to the missiles themselves isn't a good idea. In fact the 1st section of that article already defines the scope, which is either the missiles or the entire system, and not just those with ICBM capability. Joema 00:35, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Add MKV (multiple kill vehicle)[edit]

Shouldn't this article include some discussion of the "multiple kill vehicle" (MKV)? Multiple KV's on one booster would reduce the need to determine what targets are warheads and what targets are decoys. This is a much more sensible (and honest) response to likely countermeasures than the official statements have been (even if--in my view--it is still inadequate and likely to remain so for a long time.)Ajb2 (talk) 22:26, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

National missile defense redirection from Missile Shield: misleading[edit]

We shouldn't use the headline "National missile defense" any more pending developments in Europe. New missile shield sites in Poland and the Czech Republic have been green-lit and would defend NATO partners just as much (or more than) the US.

What's more, front page news shows the Russian government really isn't happy about the sites in Poland. They could care less about sites in Alaska and California. We ought to show readers this subject is a 'world subject' rather than a 'US subject' from the outset.

Propose we change headline to "U.S. Missile Shield" from "National missile defense". It would be more accurate and reflect current media terminology. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:07, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

This is supposed to be a generic article covering national missile defense(s). The current US system is called Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system and has a separate article (link is in this article a couple times). -Fnlayson (talk) 13:12, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Anti-satellite device?[edit]

Please somebody explain the terrestrial offensive capabilities as mentioned here. Is it true that radar can be used as an anti satellite device?? U2r2h (talk) 19:40, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Talk:Anti-satellite weapon is probably a more fitting place for a question like that... -Fnlayson (talk) 01:43, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

Split article[edit]

It seems like this article is becoming something of a dumping ground for information on the U.S.-based missile shield in Eastern Europe. The shield warrants its own article and moving that information to its own page would significantly decrease the clutter here (and be an improvement for the content of both articles). I'm not quite sure what the common name for the missile shield is, so I'm not creating the article yet. Theshibboleth (talk) 04:42, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

So I discovered where the article on the missile shield is - US missile defense complex in Poland, and I'm going to try to move content around where appropriate. Theshibboleth (talk) 14:46, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Tone or style of article?[edit]

After reading this article, I noticed some flaws in there that im afraid to edit. Theres too many "On this date" mixed in with regular information. The article looks like a mess towards the bottom. JasonHockeyGuy (talk) 17:55, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Glogalize tag removed[edit]

The article is on national missile defense. That means a missile defense system which defends geographic extent of an entire nation. No other country besides the U.S. has such a system (with the marginal inclusion of Israel, already mentioned in the article). The history, development and deployment of national missile defense (not missile defense in general) systems is primarily a U.S. topic. It's unclear what globalizing the article would entail. By contrast the broader article Missile defense could be globalized, except it already covers various nations. Joema (talk) 17:21, 19 September 2009 (UTC)joema

Polish & Czech bases canned by Obama?[edit]

I read recently that Obama canned the bases in Poland and the Czech Republic and that Russia's immediate response was to cancel their new Iskander deployments. This sounds like significant information that should be included in this article!--Senor Freebie (talk) 17:33, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

No information on other nations?[edit]

It is my opinion that this article should be a generic one that covers such defense systems of any countries that have it. The US, Russia, Israel and India posses and have tested anti-missile technologies in past. Can someone add information about the programs of these other nations too? Kniwor (talk) 18:59, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

This article is on national missile defense system -- those which cover the geography of an entire nation. The first sentence (in italics) makes that clear. No other country than the U.S. has such a system (with the marginal exception of Israel). Therefore adding more details about various non-national defense systems is outside the article scope, so I reverted the recent additions. Feel free to add such information to the related articles Missile defense and/or Anti-ballistic missile, which are broader in scope. Joema (talk) 21:49, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
Yup, you've a valid point. It would make sense though to describe Israel's Arrow Missile system somewhere there. Kniwor (talk) 23:06, 2 October 2009 (UTC)


I feel this page should be renamed to United States national missile defense; it relates almost 100% entirely to the USA. --Steve, Sm8900 (talk) 15:33, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

There's no need to rename the article. The title defines a concept: a missile defense system covering the geographic extent of a nation. The fact only the U.S. (or marginally, Israel) have such systems is coincidental. Over-specifying the title serves no purpose in this case. It would be like renaming the Microprocessor article U.S. Microprocessor, since U.S. companies Intel, IBM and Motorola did most of the original development, and have dominate positions. Joema (talk) 20:37, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

整个NMD系统包括陆基拦截预警系统及部署在太空的拦截器 NMD导弹防御系统作战示意图ppt —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:20, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

Proposal for renaming this article[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Moved from User talk:Mrt3366: Mrt3366 (Talk?) 07:40, 27 July 2012 (UTC)


I propose that the article be renamed to National missile defense (United States) or US National missile defense.


  1. Impermanent claim: The provisionality of the claim that only US has a nation-wide missile defense is what makes the generic title unsuitable for a skewed article that focuses on the achievements and developmental strides of only one Nation. The temporariness outweighs the strict focus on US. This I think is a violation of neutral weight principle!
  2. Undue Bias: This article is strictly US-centric. It has only one sentence about Israeli defense system of similar kind, but doesn't say anything informative about Russian defense system and not even a sentence about Indian Ballistic Missile Defense Program (which is primarily dedicated towards the development of a nation-wide missile defense system).
    This issue was last discussed on the talk page in 2009 and then someone claimed that "No other country than the U.S. has such a system (with the marginal exception of Israel)". But that scenario is seemingly very provisional today.
  3. Size: This article is already too long to host information about the Israeli defense system or the attempts by Russians & Indians to develop NMDs for their respective nations.
  4. Ambiguous term: “National Missile defense” is just the umbrella term for referring to US missile defense system, but the problem arises because

      A. it conveys a concept that is valid for every other nation and
      B. carries a literal meaning too.

    Hence, the claim that United states has Nation-wide Missile defense is only figuratively true. The system was declared "operational" by the US-administration. Plus there have been failures. Read here. Besides, here Russia claims to have tested a new type of intercontinental missile that can outwit the missile defenses.
    As a side-note, if the claims of US scientist are credible enough then, ideally speaking, the claims by Israeli or Russian or Indian scientists should be regarded as sufficiently credible also.

  5. Near-impossible preconditions for intended effectiveness:
    Talking of effectiveness, the proposed NMD intended to protect the United States only, will not work without the use of radars in Europe or in territories controlled by European countries this mandates an almost impossible geo-political step of placing the radars closer to the expected enemy launch sites.

    US Secretary of Defense William Cohen acknowledged the centrality of European allies to the NMD system during a July 2000 Senate hearing. When asked if it was possible to build an effective NMD system without European support, he replied the answer at this point would be no. . . If you don’t have forward-deployed X-band radars, then you can’t see the missiles coming.” Read more here.

Mrt3366 (Talk?) 08:33, 26 July 2012 (UTC)


  • Seems fairly reasonable. I support the disambiguation --DBigXray 09:44, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Don't worry I corrected it, Mrt3366 (Talk?) 15:46, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
I totally agree with the proposed changes. I saw this article a while back, and was concerned at its apparent tunnel vision with regard to the rest of the world. Irondome (talk) 17:04, 26 July 2012 (UTC)
Then it means we have achieved unanimity here. Mrt3366 (Talk?) 17:21, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

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