The only deployed technology designed to protect the American homeland from long-range ballistic missiles today is the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. The Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) that is carried on GMD interceptors and separates from the interceptor in flight has undergone some enhancements since inception, but the basic design remains unchanged. Hence, an eleven-year-old prototype is responsible for protecting the U.S. homeland from devastating attacks. Any technology that is neglected for a long period of time would not be able to perform at optimal levels and the GMD system should not be treated differently. Without modernizing the EKV prototype, the success of the GMD system will remain a gamble and eventually deteriorate, preventing it from keeping up with evolving threats. I have written a commentary for The National Interest here.
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