Op-ed: Congress is not asking the right questions about missile defense

Policy Intern Deverrick Holmes wrote an op-ed for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists about all the reasons why Ground-based Midcourse Defense deserves further review by Congress. 

The United States is no stranger to colossally bad ideas put forth in the name of security. The invasion of Iraq immediately comes to mind, or that time the Air Force thought about nuking the moon. The national missile defense program deserves a spot near the top of this list. It’s not just that the program is costly and unreliable, although both of those things are true. The real issue is that missile defense creates an unstable environment that is counterproductive to US interests. Of course, none of these arguments are new, yet Congress continues to push forward uncritically despite the clear and present downsides.

The Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces held a hearing in early April in which the phrase “missile defense” was mentioned more than 250 times, but “arms control” was not mentioned once. There was no discussion about how missile defense affects strategic stability, or about the negative repercussions the United States already faces because of its investments in missile defense. US military decisions do not exist in a vacuum, and US policies on defense factor into decisions other countries make about offense. It is long past time for Congress to ask tough questions about the future of national missile defense. Read more