Over the past decade, the United States has made significant progress in developing and fielding capabilities for protection against attack from short- and medium-range ballistic missiles. These include increasingly capable PATRIOT batteries for point defense, the AN/TPY-2 X-band radar for detecting and tracking ballistic missiles, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries for area defense, space-based sensors, and sea-based capabilities such as the SM-3 Block IA interceptor.
However, these capabilities exist in numbers that are only modest in view of the expanding regional missile threat. Accordingly, in the FY 2010 budget, and continuing across the FY 2011–15 time frame, the Department of Defense will further invest in these deployable assets while developing new capabilities such as a land-based SM-3 system (tentatively called “Aegis Ashore”) and airborne infrared sensors that will make possible the simultaneous detection and tracking of ballistic missiles by unmanned aerial vehicles. Looking out over the longer term (i.e., in the 2015 to 2020 time frame), the Department is pursuing even more capable SM-3s and persistent overhead sensors in space capable of detecting and tracking large raid sizes.
Integrating Capabilities Regionally
As threats have advanced and technical solutions have matured, it has become increasingly important to think strategically about the deployment of low-density, high-demand missile defense assets in a regional context. Such deployments must be tailored to the unique deterrence and defense requirements of each region, which vary considerably in their geography, the character of the threat, and the military-to-military relationships on which to build cooperative missile defenses.
Several principles will guide how BMD is used in the development of these regional approaches to deterrence and defense:
1. The United States will work with allies and partners to strengthen regional deterrence architectures, which must be built on the foundation of strong cooperative relationships and appropriate burden sharing.
2. The United States will pursue a phased adaptive approach to missile defense within each region that is tailored to the threats and circumstances unique to that region.
3. Because the potential global demand for missile defense assets over the next decade may exceed supply, the United States will develop capabilities that are mobile and relocatable.