I oppose the development of a national missile defense (NMD) system. Although I am concerned about the potential threat that intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) pose, I do not believe it wise to decide to deploy such a system in a vacuum. Before we make a decision to deploy a national missile defense system, we need to ensure that the system has been demonstrated to be operationally effective; that it does not diminish the overall national security by jeopardizing other efforts to reduce threats to the U.S., (including negotiated reductions in Russian nuclear armaments); and is fiscally responsible within the context of our defense budget.
The technology required for an effective NMD has not yet proven effective. After more than 40 years, intercepting warheads still remains a major technological hurdle. Recent testing of missile defenses has produced only four successes out of 18 tries. We have spent more than $50 billion on technology that still does not work. There is also a real question as to whether a missile defense will protect us from nuclear terrorism. As we have learned, terrorist attacks are much more likely to be delivered by airplanes or automobiles than by intercontinental ballistic missiles.