Deterrence, Missile Defense & Space

Following are all current, recent, and past IFPA projects, publications, conferences, workshops, articles, and presentations about nuclear deterrence, missile defense, and/or space capabilities.

research
publications
events
articles &
presentations
  • Research

    Iran with Nuclear Weapons: Anticipating the Consequences for U.S. Security

    Based on the assumption, unpalatable as it may seem, that a nuclear Iran is all but inevitable, this project, completed in 2008, focuses on three critically important questions.

     
    Independent Working Group on Missile Defense

    As part of IFPA's missile defense program, the Independent Working Group ( IWG ) on Post-ABM Treaty Missile Defense and the Space Relationship is exploring missile defense architectures that include space-based systems.

     
    The U.S.-Japan Alliance and the Future of Extended Deterrence

    In the new setting since North Korea’s nuclear test, this project, completed in 2009, undertakes a fresh assessment of thinking in Japan and the United States about extended deterrence in Northeast Asia.

     
    Space and U.S. Security: A Net Assessment

    Although the United States is the dominant player in space, a growing number of countries are accessing space for both military and commercial purposes, challenging U.S. preeminence.

     
    Missile Defense and Counterproliferation Studies

    Recognizing that over the first decade of the twenty-first century the United States and its allies will face a proliferation of precision weapons and missiles in the hands of adversaries, IFPA undertook several projects between 1997 and 2002 to assess U.S. and Allied missile defense and counterproliferation policy and technology.

  • Publications

    Anticipating a Nuclear Iran: Challenges for U.S. Security
    Jacquelyn K. Davis and Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.
    December 2013

    Published by Columbia University Press in December 2013 , this book is based on a study originally completed under a grant to IFPA from the Smith Richardson Foundation and addresses major political and security challenges for the United States if Iran acquires a nuclear weapons capability. The co-authors are Dr. Jacquelyn K. Davis and Dr. Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.

    Rather than focus on Iran’s pursuit of nuclear capabilities, this volume assumes the worst, and a defensive, aggressive, and unstable Iran is already in the possession of a nuclear arsenal. How should the U.S. handle this threat, and can it deter the use of such weapons? Exploring three potential scenarios in which Iran becomes a nuclear state, this volume breaks down the political, strategic, and operational challenges facing the U.S. in a post-Cold War world.

    The volume concentrates on the type of nuclear capability Iran might develop; the conditions under which Iran might resort to threatened or actual weapons use; the extent to which Iran’s military strategy and declaratory policy might embolden Iran and its proxies to pursue more aggressive policies in the region and vis-à-vis the United States; and Iran’s ability to transfer nuclear materials to others within and outside of the region, possibly sparking a nuclear cascade. Drawing on recent post-Cold War deterrence theory, the authors consider Iran’s nuclear ambitions as they relate to its foreign policy objectives, domestic politics, and role in the Islamic world, and they suggest specific approaches the U.S. can undertake to improve its defense and deterrence planning.

     
    Defending the Homeland: The Role of Missile Defense
    Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.
    October 2013, 40 pp

    This special report is based on the proceedings of a June 25, 2013, Capitol Hill briefing held in Washington, D.C., and sponsored by the Independent Working Group (IWG) on Missile Defense and the Space Relationship and organized by IFPA. The report focuses on the role that missile defense can play in U.S. homeland security. Specific topics include the emerging requirements for the Aegis sea-based missile defense program including Aegis Ashore, the potential to build a third missile defense site on the East Coast, the options for space-based missile defense, homeland security threats including electromagnetic pulse (EMP) as part of cyber and information warfare operations, and defense budget issues affecting missile defense programs and priorities.

     
    U.S. National Security Strategy and the New Strategic Triad: Capitol Hill Briefing Report
    Independent Working Group on Missile Defense and the Space Relationship
    July 2012, 34 pp

    Report of the April 20, 2102, Capitol Hill briefing convened and sponsored by the Independent Working Group (IWG) on Missile Defense and the Space Relationship. Organized by IFPA, the meeting brought together expertise on space, nuclear modernization, and missile defense to discuss the synergistic relationships among these core components which together form the elements of a new Strategic Triad to support U.S. national security strategy and defense policy. Participants included Senate and House Staff members, officials from the Departments of Defense, State, and the military services, subject matter experts, representatives from industry, and IWG members.

     
    Air, Space, and Cyberspace Power in the 21st-Century
    38th IFPA-Fletcher Conference on National Security Strategy and Policy
    Conference report
    September 2010

    The conference report from the 38th IFPA-Fletcher Conference on National Security Strategy and Policy, "Air, Space, and Cyberspace Power in the 21st-Century," addresses the defining issues for the U.S. Air Force (USAF) in the twenty-first-century security environment as well as the planning, operational, and investment challenges facing the USAF in the years ahead. These include balancing legacy missions with irregular warfare demands; determining where the USAF can take risks in platform modernization and how best to assign acquisition priorities in a constrained budget environment; identifying and promoting new mission areas and service competencies; and articulating an up-to-date strategy for enabling and supporting twenty-first-century security planning that facilitates combatant-commander security cooperation and joint and Allied/coalition operations, and contributing as well to broader interagency requirements.
    The conference was held on January 20–21, 2010, in Washington, D.C. Building on previous conferences in this series, the 38th IFPA-Fletcher National Security Conference brought together a unique mix of expertise from government and the private sector; from the civilian and military communities; from think tanks, industry, and academia; and from the United States and abroad.

     
    Countering the EMP Threat: The Role of Missile Defense
    White paper by Henry Cooper and Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.
    July 2010, 12 pp

    Among the threats facing the United States are short-range ballistic missiles launched from vessels such as freighters, tankers, or container ships off our shores to detonate a warhead that could have catastrophic Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) consequences for the United States. After discussing the potential for a successful EMP attack, this report suggests what can (and should) be done to counter such an attack by using existing and near-term missile defense capabilities, beginning immediately.

     
    Frequently Asked Questions about Ballistic Missile Defense: A Guide
    The Independent Working Group
    May 2010, 23 pp

    This guide is based on information contained in the 2009 Independent Working Group Report entitled Missile Defense, the Space Relationship, and the Twenty-First Century. The purpose of the guide is to address the most often asked questions and to provide information about missile defense.

     
    Realigning Priorities: The U.S.-Japan Alliance and the Future of Extended Deterrence
    James L. Schoff
    May 2009

    North Korea's missile/rocket launch over Japan and maritime skirmishes in the South China Sea between the United States and China place new burdens on the U.S.-Japan security relationship. For more than two generations the United States has provided a security guarantee to Japan that is backed by the U.S. nuclear capability. The future of this extended deterrence relationship is the focus of this report. It addresses evolving discussion about deterrence in Japan as well as the United States and examines the conditions under which Japan might consider new approaches to assuring its future security.

     
    Updating U.S. Deterrence Concepts and Operational Planning: Reassuring Allies, Deterring Legacy Threats, and Dissuading Nuclear "Wannabes"
    Jacquelyn K. Davis, Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Charles M. Perry, and James L. Schoff
    February 2009, 22 pp

    Among the potentially contentious issues requiring focused attention and innovative thinking by the Obama administration are those relating to the future of U.S. deterrence planning. Members of the administration are already on record as favoring a significant unilateral reduction in U.S. nuclear weapons. Some are calling for the ratification of a Comprehensive (Nuclear) Test Ban Treaty; others are questioning proposals to update the U.S. nuclear infrastructure and modernize the U.S. nuclear warhead inventory to make American deterrent forces better able to meet and counter legacy and emerging deterrence threats and challenges. This paper provides an assessment of the future of U.S. nuclear planning and offers new ideas about deterrence in the dramatically changed twenty-first-century security planning environment.

     
    The Space and U.S. Security Net Assessment
    Dr. Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.
    January 2009, 83 pp

    This report, the product of a year-long study effort, has been prepared as a contribution to the discussion about the future role of the United States in space. It surveys the current status of U.S. space activities and draws comparisons with other countries that have developed space programs in recent decades. It projects major trends into a ten- to twenty-year timeframe to identify factors that may have important positive or negative implications for the position of the United States relative to other nations in the next decade. Because of the inherently dual-use nature of space technology and the growing role of the commercial sector, this net assessment takes a broad view of space, encompassing space technologies for military uses and for commercial purposes. It underscores the mutually important role of space in U.S. national security and in the U.S. economy.

     
    Missile Defense, the Space Relationship, and the Twenty-first Century
    The Independent Working Group
    January 2009

    This report provides an assessment of missile defense requirements beyond the limited ground-based system currently being deployed, together with opportunities to benefit from existing and new technologies. It presents proven technology options that should form the basis for deployment of an innovative missile defense that draws upon the legacy of technologies developed during the Strategic Defense Initiative program of the Reagan administration and the first Bush administration. The report lays out the necessary vision to exploit existing and future technologies, with space as an indispensable part of missile defense.

     
    Iran with Nuclear Weapons: Anticipating the Consequences for U.S. Policy
    Jacquelyn K. Davis and Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.
    September 2008, 93 pp

    We need only ponder the problems posed by an Iran without nuclear weapons to begin to assess the challenges of an Iran in possession of an operational nuclear weapons capability. Considering the issue from the perspective of three different heuristic models of Iran’s proliferation — a defensive Iran, an aggressive Iran, and an unstable Iran — this report assesses the political, strategic, and operational implications of Iran’s attainment of a nuclear weapons capability. It assumes that absent strong, unified, multilateral action to impose a strict sanctions regime, a United Nations Security Council-approved embargo, or other tightly enforced trade and financial restrictions, current policies will not suffice to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state.

     
    A New Maritime Strategy for 21st-Century National Security
    37th IFPA-Fletcher Conference on National Security Strategy and Policy
    February 2007

     
    Nuclear Proliferation and the Future of U.S. Defense and Deterrence Planning
    Jacquelyn K. Davis and Charles M. Perry
    January 2005

     
    Implementing the New Triad: Nuclear and Non-Nuclear Forces in 21st-Century Deterrence
    36th IFPA-Fletcher Conference on National Security and Policy:
    January 2005, 122 pp

     
    Assessing the Cruise Missile Puzzle: How Great a Defense Challenge?
    David R. Tanks
    October 2000, 40 pp

     
    National Missile Defense: Policy Issues and Technological Capabilities
    David R. Tanks
    July 2000

     
    Commercial Space and Military Information Dominance
    David R. Tanks
    June 1998, 19 pp

     
    Future Challenges to U.S. Space Systems
    David R. Tanks
    June 1998, 19 pp
    Exploring U.S. Missile Defense Requirements in 2010: What Are the Policy and Technology Challenges?
    David R. Tanks
    July 1997

     
    Allied-Central European Workshop on Post-Cold War Concepts of Deterrence
    Workshop report
    January 1996, 22 pp
    Security Strategy and Missile Defense
    Edited by Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.
    December 1995

     
    Proliferation, Theater Missile Defense, and U.S. Security
    January 1994, 44 pp
  • Events

    Defending the Homeland: The Role of Missile Defense: Capitol Hill briefing held by the Independent Working Group on Missile Defense and the Space Relationship
    June 25, 2013, Washington, D.C.

    Roundtable discussion on missile defense, space, and homeland security. Topics included the ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) system and the issue currently being debated as to whether to build a third GMD site on the East Coast of the United States; the status of Aegis sea-based ballistic missile defense (BMD) programs; and options for defense from space and Aegis BMD based on shore.

     
    U.S. National Security Strategy & the New Strategic Triad: Capitol Hill briefing held by the Independent Working Group on Missile Defense and the Space Relationship
    April 20, 2012, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.

    Organized by IFPA, this Capitol Hill briefing brought together expertise on space, nuclear modernization, and missile defense to discuss the synergistic relationships among these core components which together form the elements of a new Strategic Triad to support U.S. national security strategy and defense policy. The focus was priority issues and programs within and among space, nuclear modernization, and missile defense. Presentations were given by a panel of experts drawn primarily from IWG membership. The conference drew at least seventy-five participants from House and Senate staffs, the U.S. military services, the official civilian government, and the broader Washington, D.C., policy community. The program was videotaped as part of an effort to give broader dissemination to the presentations and discussion.

     
    U.S.-Russian Relations Beyond New START: What’s Next, What’s Possible, and What’s Necessary
    March 7, 2011, Washington, D.C., an IFPA-DTRA-EUCOM workshop
    New START, Nuclear Modernization, and Missile Defense
    July 20, 2010, Washington, D.C., Independent Working Group Conference

    The event featured sessions on threats and recent trends in missile defense; current issues including New START , the Nuclear Posture Review, nuclear modernization, and implications for missile defense; and priorities, budget needs and constraints, and programmatic initiatives.

     
    The Air Force's Nuclear Mission and the Future of Deterrence Planning
    June 11, 2009, Washington, D.C., in support of the chief of staff, U.S. Air Force
    38th IFPA-Fletcher Conference on National Security Strategy and Policy: Air, Space, and Cyberspace Power in the 21st-Century
    January 20 – January 21, 2010, Washington, D.C.

     
    Emerging Threats and Homeland/National Security: The Role of Missile Defense
    September 22 – June 23, 2009, Washington, D.C., Independent Working Group roundtable

     
    36th IFPA-Fletcher Conference on National Security and Policy: Implementing the New Triad: Nuclear and Non-Nuclear Forces in 21st-Century Deterrence
    December 14 – December 15, 2005, Washington, D.C.

     
    Space and Information Operations in a Homeland Security Contingency
    April 2, 2002, Washington D.C., in support of U.S. Space Command and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency
    The Changing Face of Deterrence for NATO: New Concepts, Capabilities, and Challenges
    March 4, 2004, Washington, D.C., in support of U.S. Strategic Command, U.S. European Command, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
    Stability, Deterrence, and the Future of the U.S.-ROK Alliance: Current Pressures and Emerging Priorities
    January 29, 2003, Washington, D.C., in support of U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Forces Korea, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency
    SOCOM Strategic Vision Wargame
    December 3 – December 6, 2002, Norfolk, Virginia, in support of U.S. Special Operations Command, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency
    Missile Defense and Counterproliferation on the Korean Peninsula: Exploring U.S. - ROK Options and Requirements
    October 8, 2002, Seoul, South Korea

     
  • Articles & Presentations

    A Fiscal 2012 Missile Defense Agenda
    By the Independent Working Group, February 14, 2011

    A Dangerous Gap in Our Defenses? An EMP Attack Is a Terrible Threat That Could Be Countered Now
    Op-ed by Henry F. Cooper and Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.
    National Review Online, December 14, 2010

    U.S. Extended Deterrence Commitments in East Asia and U.S. Nuclear Posture
    Speech by James L. Schoff
    Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., June 3, 2009
    U.S.-Japan Alliance and the Future of Extended Deterrence
    Speech by James L. Schoff
    Stanford University Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, May 11, 2009
    Boost-Phase Missile Defense
    Talk by Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.

    Boost-Phase Missile Defense: Present Challenges, Future Prospects, seminar at the Capitol Hill Club, Washington, D.C., April 3, 2009

    Does the Nonproliferation Tail Wag the Deterrence Dog?
    James L. Schoff
    PacNet, no. 9, February 5, 2009

    The Shoot-Down of the Failing NRO Satellite: Implications for ICBM Missile Defense
    Speech by Dr. Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.

    Capitol Hill Forum on Missile Defense: Implications of the February 2008 Satellite Intercept, Washington, D.C., October 9, 2008

    Collaboration with NATO on Missile Defense
    Speech by Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.,

    Conference on Missile Defence after the Bucharest NATO Summit: European and American Perspectives, Prague, the Czech Republic, May 5, 2008

    Hedging and the U.S.-Japan Alliance
    Speech by James L. Schoff
    U.S.-Japan Strategic Dialogue, hosted by MIT at the Endicott House, Dedham, Massachusetts, February 20, 2008.
    Space and Missile Defense
    Speech by Dr. Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.

    To the Federalist Society and held at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C., June 20, 2007

    Weapons in Space
    Speech by Dr. Robert L. Pfaltzgraff, Jr.

    To the Boston Council on Foreign Relations, June 18, 2007