Closing the window of vulnerability: Peacekeeper and point defense

Michael F. Altfeld, Stephen J. Cimbala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The Reagan Administration proposes to deploy 100 Peacekeeper ICBMs in Minuteman silos in order to reduce the current Soviet advantage in ICBMs. After that decision was taken the President announced what has come to be called the “Strategic Defense Initiative.” This paper compares the effectiveness of the proposed Peacekeeper deployment to that of a simple, fairly “leaky” point defense of the current U.S. Minuteman force. In addition, the effect of combining Peacekeeper deployment with a leaky point defense is also assessed. Point defense of the Minuteman reduces Soviet post‐attack advantage better than the proposed Peacekeeper deployment. However, point defense of the Peacekeeper results in post‐attack capability ratios which are less favorable to the Soviets than the pre‐attack ratios. This produces negative incentives for such an attack in the first place.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-393
Number of pages19
JournalComparative Strategy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations


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