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Alaska's Strategic Role in the Defense of the United States and the Vital Role of Missile Defense

Recorded on July 22, 2009

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Allison Auditorium

Contrary to common perception, the U.S. government has been researching and developing missile defense systems for more than 60 years.  The 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviet Union brought America's deployment to a halt.  It was not until President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative speech in 1983 that the concept became a household term.  Since 2002, the United States has been vigorously developing, testing and deploying missile defense technology.  In the past six years, the military has run 34 hit-to-kill interceptor tests, almost all of them successful. 

Now, in the face of a belligerent North Korea and an increasingly isolated Iran, the funding for the Strategic Missile Defense Initiative is slated to be cut by $1.4 billion.  Recent events should serve as a reminder that the world is changing from its Cold War structure in the need to defend Americans and our allies from these growing missile threats.