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Hudson Institute Releases Report on U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense Vulnerabilities and Emerging Global Threats


Today, Hudson Institute released Space and the Right to Self Defense, a report produced by Fellow Rebeccah L. Heinrichs. The report examines the state of the U.S. ballistic missile defense system, in addition to vulnerabilities unaddressed by current defense policy.


Adversaries are investing in direct ascent anti-satellite missile technology

Rogue nations that previously posed a “limited” missile threat are investing in mobile and evasive capabilities, while near-peer competitors, including Russia and China, are developing technologies to target key U.S. space assets. The report indicates that adversaries are investing in direct ascent anti-satellite missile technology, challenging the United States’ long-held unrivaled position in space and targeting critical assets.

Recommendations made in the study include the following:

  • Reform the informal missile defense policy of the United States from one that is limited to one that is robust (e.g. amending the 1999 National Missile Defense Act).
  • Continue investments to sustain and modernize current, operational missile defense systems like the Aegis and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense program (THAAD), and Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) systems.
  • Develop and deploy a space-based interceptor capability to protect the U.S. homeland, space assets, deployed forces, and allies.

The recommendations outlined in the report are supported by a high-level review panel of senior leaders from the U.S. defense, space and intelligence fields. The senior review group for this report includes: former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman; former NASA administrator Michael D. Griffin, Ph.D.; former commander of U.S. Northern Command General Charles H. Jacoby (Ret.); former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Robert Joseph, Ph.D.; former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl; former Director of the Missile Defense Agency Lieutenant General Henry A. “Trey” Obering, III (Ret.); former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Forces Policy Dr. Keith Payne; former Commander of U.S. Northern Command General Gene Renuart (Ret.); former Congressman and Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Michael Rogers; former Chairman of the Defense Science Board, William Schneider, Ph.D.; retired Lieutenant General Mark D. Shackelford, former military deputy of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition; retired US General William Shelton, former Commander of the U.S. Air Force Space Command; and retired Brigadier General Kenneth Todorov, former Deputy Director of the Missile Defense Agency. Study Director Rebeccah Heinrichs is a Fellow at Hudson Institute. So she previously served as an advisor on military matters and foreign policy to Representative Trent Franks, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, and helped launch the bipartisan Missile Defense Caucus.

If you want the full report, Space and the Right to Self Defense, can be accessed here:


Hudson Institute is a research organization promoting American leadership and global engagement for a secure, free, and prosperous future.

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