U.S. strategic force modernization and SDI: four key issues

by Kevin N. Lewis

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This paper discusses transition aspects of both offensive and defensive forces should the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) continue. The author argues that it would be to the advantage of the United States to maintain its current offensive orientation in parallel with defensive developments until the strategic competition enters a fundamentally different (and final) defensive deployment phase. Four key issues discussed are: (1) potential interactions between major new homeland defenses and those parts of U.S. and NATO strategy that incorporate less than all-out nuclear employment options; (2) defense suppression and how the United States schedules its SDI deployment options; (3) certain budgetary and management considerations; and (4) reasons the United States should maintain powerful offensive forces until relatively late in the homeland defense deployment game.

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