Deep Cuts Working Paper #14 Missile Defense and the Offense-Defense Relationship

By Andrey Baklitskiy, James Cameron and Steven Pifer


After more than six decades of research – and nearly 20 years since the demise of the ABM Treaty removed any legal restraints on its development – missile defense continues to prove ineffective against the strategic offensive forces of the major powers while nevertheless exerting a destabilizing long-term influence on the strategic balance. Given this situation, it is in the interests of all the major powers to take steps to limit the growth of missile defense capabilities in a way that substitutes mutually agreed restraints for the current de facto limits imposed by long-standing technological challenges and budget constraints. This will help stabilize the offense-defense balance globally while sacrificing little in terms of real future defensive capability.

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About the Authors

Andrey Baklitskiy is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Advanced American Studies of the Institute of the International Studies at the MGIMO University of the Russian Foreign Ministry and a Consultant at PIR Center.

James Cameron is a Postdoctoral Fellow (Assistant Professor) in the Department of Political Science at the University of Oslo, where he is a member of the Oslo Nuclear Project.

Steven Pifer is a William J. Perry Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University and a non-resident senior fellow with the Brookings Institution.