Missile Defense, the Space Relationship, and the Twenty-First Century

International Working Group

Originally published at


The 2009 report of the Independent Working Group, Missile Defense, the Space Relationship, and the Twenty-First Century, includes updated chapters on the ballistic missile threat, the politics of missile defense, and a summary of what must be done to defend America.

The Independent Working Group is co-chaired by Dr. Robert Pfaltzgraff, President of the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, and by Dr. William R. Van Cleave, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies at Missouri State University. Distinguished members and advisors include missile defense, space, and security experts from the scientific, technical, and national security policy communities.

First released in 2007, the 2009 update recommends that the Pentagon build on the legacy of technologies developed under the Strategic Defense Initiative of the Reagan administration. Sea- and space-based assets should constitute the backbone of a robust, layered U.S. missile defense shield, which ground-based systems should support. Such a defense would be capable of protecting the U.S., its allies, and troops abroad against the threat of hostile missile attacks from any quarter. The missile threat continues to increase as rogue nations and transnational terrorist organizations attempt to acquire ballistic missile technology and weapons of mass destruction. The report praises the Bush Administration for withdrawing from the 1972 ABM Treaty and beginning modest deployments, but criticizes the Bush administration’s failure to deploy a more robust system fully capable of defending the United States, our troops, and our allies.

Also new to the 2009 report is the rapporteurs’ report of the Claremont Institute’s 2008 conference Missile Defense Challenges for the Twenty-First Century, held in Dearborn, Michigan.  Ambassador John Bolton delivered the conference’s keynote address; Senator Jon Kyl and Representative Trent Franks also addressed conference participants.

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