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.