Strategic Defenses and the Transition to Assured Survival

by Glenn A. Kent, Randall J. DeValk


Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 3 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback72 pages $25.00 $20.00 20% Web Discount

This report details the anatomy and calculus of the ballistic missile portion of the transition to a robust nationwide strategic defense posture, as proposed by President Reagan on March 23, 1983. To provide insight into the policy issues surrounding the transition, the authors develop an analytic format based on ballistic missile "defense potential." The defense potential format demonstrates that, if highly survivable strategic defenses were deployed as an adjunct to current superpower ballistic missile forces, the United States could make the transition to the President's goal of assured survival from ballistic missile attack without having to pass through a period during which either the United States or the Soviet Union would have great incentive to launch a first strike against the other. However, if the defenses are vulnerable to attack and/or if both superpowers continue to deploy weapons capable of destroying hard targets but fail to adopt corresponding offensive force survivability measures, a stable transition would become less likely.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.