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The Missile Defense Controversy

Technology in Search of a Mission

Ernest Yanarella

Publication Year: 1977

" This revised and updated edition identifies the cultural factors and specific administrative agendas that have shaped the way we view ballistic missile technology. Three new sections connect our recent, sudden shifts in foreign policy to ongoing historical patterns. Whether cautioning against the “almost neurotic pursuit of absolute security” or examining the powerful influence of religion on military buildup, Ernest J.Yanarella uncovers the deeply ingrained attitudes that will determine the future of American missile defense.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky


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To the members of the Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xi

It was a pleasure to be given the opportunity by the University Press of Kentucky to update and expand the study of the antiballistic missile dispute in the United States from its original focus on the politics of ABM development from roughly 1955 to 1972. Their invitation to revise this work in late March 2001 ...

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pp. 1-12

The decision by the George W. Bush administration in early 2001 to proceed with alacrity toward developing and deploying a ballistic missile defense was the culmination of a defense decisionmaking process rooted in the 1950s at the height of the cold war. Yet few are now aware of the first controversy from ...

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1. Defense Politics in the Eisenhower Years

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pp. 13-25

Governmental decision-making does not occur in a political or institutional vacuum. Besides the constitutional limitations imposed upon public decision-makers, a vast range of constraints operate to circumscribe the latitude of choice available to officials. Among these limiting features are included ...

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2. The Army Gets a Mission

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pp. 26-42

ON January 16, 1958, Secretary of Defense Neil McElroy forwarded directives to the Departments of the Army and the Air Force setting forth their specific responsibilities concerning the development of an ABM system, as well as indicating the role that the newly created Advanced Research Projects Agency ...

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3. McNamara's Twin "Revolution" in Defense Decision-Making

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pp. 43-59

In his first two years as secretary of defense, Robert S. McNamara is considered to have effected a revolution in the decision-making apparatus and strategic outlook in the Department of Defense. This revolution, it is generally claimed, was a double revolution influencing the administration and management ...

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4. Zeus Denied

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pp. 60-78

Throughout 1959 and 1960 the army continued to advance arguments for early deployment of its Zeus ABM system, only to be rebuffed on each occasion. In 1959 it recommended $1.3 billion for Zeus for fiscal 1960, of which $300 million would go to further R&D and $700 million would be applied to tooling, ...

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5 . Exit Zeus, Enter Nike-X

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pp. 79-101

IN his annual posture statement for fiscal 1964, Robert McNamara disclosed that several major decisions relating to Zeus and the ABM issue had been determined. A thorough technical review conducted by OSD during the preceding year had led to the conclusion that the Nike-Zeus system in its present state would ...

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6. Interlude: From Nike-X to Sentinel

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pp. 102-119

In 1964, despite the appearance of evidence indicating Soviet development of an ABM defense, a decision by the United States to deploy an ABM system seemed far off. Any decision to produce and deploy Nike-X (or some other advanced ABM system configuration) appeared to be contingent on satisfactory solution ...

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7. The Decision to Deploy

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pp. 120-142

On September 18, 1967, Robert McNamara delivered one of the most momentous speeches in the history of ABM before the editors of United Press International in San Francisco.1 In the course of that speech, the following basic tenets of his vision were enunciated and defended: 1 ) that an assured destruction capability, ...

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8. Safeguard, SALT, and the McNamara Heritage

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pp. 143-186

The year 1968 was marked by continued efforts within the Johnson administration to stimulate agreement with the Soviet government upon negotiations over strategic arms reductions in offensive and defensive weapons systems.1 It was also a period characterized by the administration's attempts to avoid strong ...

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9. Shield of Dreams: The Persistence of Ballistic Missile Defense

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pp. 187-216

With the negotiation and ratification of the ABM Treaty by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1972, ballistic missile defense as national policy all but faded from the political scene. Working within the provisions of the SALT accords, the Soviet Union and then the United States each deployed an individual ABM site ...

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pp. 217-238

This work has sought to illuminate one particular aspect of the history and politics of national security policy and arms control negotiations in the United States: the controversy over whether the United States should deploy ballistic missile defenses. The preponderant weight of this analysis has been oriented ...


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pp. 239-268


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pp. 269-276

E-ISBN-13: 9780813128092
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813113555

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 1977