Missile Defense Choices

June 12, 2000

President Clinton's recent summit meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin once again has put missile defense in the news. In the next few months, the president must decide if he will begin to develop and deploy a missile defense system and what kind of system it will be.

Currently the president favors developing a land-based system in Alaska that would use an early warning system to intercept missiles heading toward North America. The major arguments against it are cost (estimated at about $60 billion) and time. The system will virtually have to be built from scratch. Many European leaders are not for this system since it would only protect the U.S. and Canada and leave the other NATO allies vulnerable.

A better system would be a sea-based system which would place 650 interceptors on 22 Navy ships. These could be placed in key hot spots around the globe such as the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Japan. The advantages are many. The cost is estimated to be around $3 billion (over the next 5 years) since much of the platform for this system already exists.

A sea-based system may also be more effective since the ships could be situated to intercept nuclear missiles after launch rather than as they fly closer to their target. As some have put it, "It's easier to put a lid on North Korea than it is to put an umbrella over America."

Our European allies are sure to like the plan as well since this system provides a great chance of protection for countries outside of North America.

At the moment, President Clinton is still undecided about which if any missile defense system the U.S. should deploy. It seems to me that a sea-based system would be the cheapest, most effective system to provide the best protection for the most countries.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.