Missile Defense, Extended Deterrence, and Nonproliferation in the 21st Century

This project began with the intention of exploring the role of missile defense in extended deterrence and nonproliferation worldwide. However, era-changing events in Europe, notably the Russian aggression in Crimea and Ukraine, mandated a core shift in the project’s focus. As a result, the project became more oriented toward Europe. As U.S.-Russia tensions continued to escalate and NATO allies searching for greater reassurance, missile defense—relegated to the back burner since the end of the Cold War—again took center stage. Familiar debates about the technical efficacy of missile defense, its role in assuring allies, and the potential for undermining strategic stability reemerged in today’s more complex security environment with a sense of greater urgency than at any time in the last 25 years. 

The project’s two main conferences were both held in Europe and focused primarily on missile defense and extended deterrence in the European context. In December 2014, the project collaborated with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and the NATO Defense College (NDC) to host a two day conference titled “Missile Defense: State of Play and Future Evolution,” held in Geneva, Switzerland. In attendance were senior European defense experts, academics, and government officials. In April 2015, the project held a second workshop conference in Europe, this time in Brussels, Belgium. Co-hosted with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES), the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), and CISSM, this conference was well attended by interested practitioners from NATO and European institutions as well as think tank members and scholars from Eastern and Western Europe.

In an effort to provide emerging scholars with the opportunity to conduct policy-relevant research for a wider audience, the project’s final product consisted of a series of papers on missile defense developments around the world written by young scholars and professionals. Taken together, these papers provide a salient and detailed look at the role of missile defense around the globe. In addition to producing this body of work, the project was also successful in bringing together a new cadre of experts into the field and developing the next generation of academics and public servants who will bring their background in missile defense to their future endeavors. 

This project was funded by the Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (PASCC) and led by CISSM Senior Fellow Prof. Catherine Kelleher.

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