Bush discusses missile defense plan

Bush discusses missile defense plan

By Dawn S. Onley

GCN Staff


MAY 2—President Bush pushed a step further in his plans to develop a national missile defense system and called on allies to work with the United States to replace the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

In a speech yesterday at the Pentagon's National Defense University, Bush divulged the preliminary results of an examination of available technologies and basing modes for the missile defense system.

He said he was eager to consult with allies and with Russia in building such a system, and said he might send delegations as early as next week to several European capitals to discuss the plan.

He also reiterated his commitment to reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal to 'reflect the reality that the Cold War is over.'

Bush said there were several 'near-term options' that could be used, including advanced sensors and interceptors, to protect the United States and allies from threats by rogue states.

'In some cases, we can draw on already established technologies that might involve land-based and sea-based capabilities to intercept missiles in mid-course or after they re-enter the atmosphere,' Bush said.

'We also recognize the substantial advantages of intercepting missiles early in their flight, especially in the boost phase,' he added. 'The preliminary work has produced some promising options for advanced sensors and interceptors that may provide this capability. If based at sea or on aircraft, such approaches could provide limited but effective defenses.'

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