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Obama Set To Continue Doctrine Shift In Nuclear Defense Part One

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Baker Spring, Peter Brookes | James Jay Carafano
Washington (UPI) Jan 13, 2009
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama stated during his election campaign last year that he was committed to protecting the United States and its allies against attacks that employ weapons of mass destruction.

"In a world with nuclear weapons, America must continue efforts to defend against the mass destruction of its citizens and our allies," Obama wrote in "Barack Obama and Joe Biden on Defense Issues," available at

Obama's commitment extends to fielding defenses against such attacks that are delivered by ballistic missile systems. His pledge was in keeping with the Bush administration's policy of moving the United States away from the Cold War strategy of relying almost exclusively on large-scale retaliatory threats, including nuclear weapons, to deter attacks. The American people should welcome this continuity because, first and foremost, they want to be protected.

According to an August 2008 public survey, 87 percent of Americans thought the United States should have a missile defense system that was capable of defending the nation against missiles that may contain WMD warheads. The poll was carried out by the Opinion Research Corp. as a "National Missile Defense Study" that was conducted for the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance in July 2008. It is available at

On the other hand, Obama's "Blueprint for Change" states his administration will support missile defense that is "pragmatic and cost-effective" and "does not divert resources from other national security priorities until we are positive the technology will protect the American public." This statement is available at (Nov. 20, 2008).

These statements imply that ballistic missile defense programs are not a top priority and that missile defense technology is not proven, reflecting the comments in "Barack Obama and Joe Biden on Defense Issues," at (Nov. 12, 2008).

However, neither of these claims is true.

Further, Obama has made broad statements regarding the "weaponization" of space, available at (posted on Nov. 6, 2008).

However, the fact is that an effective and affordable BMD system will require both robust funding and space-based elements.

It is important, therefore, that Obama clears up ambiguities in his position on missile defense.

(Part 2: The commitment Obama needs to make to ensure continued rapid progress in BMD development and deployment)

(Baker Spring is F.M. Kirby research fellow in national security policy in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies; Peter Brookes is senior fellow for national security affairs in the Davis Institute; and James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., is assistant director of the Davis Institute and senior research fellow for national security and homeland security in the Allison Center at The Heritage Foundation.)

(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)

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Pentagon denies missile defense sales talks with India
Washington (AFP) Jan 8, 2009
The Pentagon has had longstanding contacts with India on missile defense issues but is not in talks to sell it missile defense systems, a defense spokesman said.

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