This excellent report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction - this is not a print replica, and thus it is suitable for all devices. The growth of ballistic missile platforms and the sophistication of these systems are evolving at a pace that no longer allows the luxury of long lead times for defensive counter-measures. In order to address this complex and increasingly growing danger, the U.S. must move beyond the initial missile defense deployment stages of recent years and focus on deploying a system capable of providing comprehensive protection of America's homeland. This defensive network must also be able to dissuade would-be missile possessors from costly investments in missile technologies, and to deter future adversaries from confronting the United States with ballistic missiles carrying WMD. Additionally, America's strategic objective should make it impossible for any adversary to influence U.S. decision-making in times of conflict through the use of missile platforms or WMD blackmail. These priorities necessitate the deployment of a system capable of constant defense against a wide range of missiles in all phases of flight: boost, midcourse, and terminal. A multi-layered system, encompassing extended-range conus and theater-based defense assets would provide multiple opportunities to destroy incoming missiles originating from any point around the world.
However, a truly global capability cannot be achieved without incorporating interdiction capabilities through space as one of its key operational enablers. In the twenty-first century, space has replaced the seas as the ultimate frontier for commerce, technology, and national security. Interdiction capabilities navigating through space affords maximum opportunities for missile interception on a global scale. As directed energy technology continues to mature, lasers could one day provide a viable interdiction capability through space to defend the U.S. against the growing threat of missile attack.
Two directed energy weapon systems that could provide this network are the free-electron laser and the space-based relay mirror. Although still early in the technological development stages, these two systems hold great promise for creating a robust, defense network capable of extended-range operations. This network would provide the final layer to America's quest of developing a multi-layered defense infrastructure while also covering for any limitations posed by today's kinetic energy intercept technology.
Our compilation reproduction also includes, as a bonus, the complete 2019 U.S. Intelligence Community Worldwide Threat Assessment, a substantial document with updated analysis of dozens of critical national security issues.