Missile Defense and Arms Control: Valdai`s Perspective

February 26, 2024

THE SHOOT DOWN/MISS THE TARGET DILEMMA: THE EVOLUTION OF MISSILE DEFENSE AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR ARMS CONTROL. 
Valdai Discussion Club Report. 2023.

URL: https://valdaiclub.com/files/40258/

Missile defense is a critical component of national security, as it provides protection against ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and other aerial threats that could potentially cause significant damage or casualties.  It employs a variety of advanced technologies, including radar systems, interceptors, and command and control networks, to effectively neutralize incoming threats and safeguard critical assets and populations. As the global security landscape continues to evolve, the development and deployment of missile defense capabilities remain an essential priority for nations around the world. 

In this Valdai Discussion Club report the authors – Alexander Chekov, Dr. Oleg Krivolapov, Dr. Konstantin Bogdanov, Dmitry Stefanovich and Dr. Vasily Klimov – assess the fundamental trends and key problem areas, and present proposals for potential solutions to minimize the negative implications of missile defense development for international security. According to the researchers, missile defense remains a challenge to both international and national security. Creating missile defense involves a lot of technical obstacles and stimulates an arms race. Moreover, the worsening international military and political situation compels experts to focus on missile defenses. Heightened missile threats stimulate the development of defensive capabilities. Traditionally, missile defense is seen as a destabilization factor as well.

On the other hand, there is a growing international demand for missile defense. The development of missile defense systems encourages an offensive and defensive arms race. Given the growing international tensions, this severely limits the space for arms control. At the same time, maintaining communication channels between key actors is of particular importance in such conditions. 

The authors focus on the creation of unified battle management loops for space and air defense and their importance for international strategic stability. The report also reflects such aspects of air and space security as missile censor technologies and missile defense technologies proliferation. In addition, new trends in the sphere of high-tech missiles are considered: laser missiles, electromagnetic defense systems. It is worth mentioning that while the authors agree that further development of missile defense technologies can contribute to stabilizing the international security system, they also consider the risks associated with it. For example, the forward deployment of such missiles may increase international tensions, as major warring powers such as the United States, China and Russia are interested in expanding their missile architecture – Kenneth Waltz’s security dilemma comes immediately to mind.In general, the report was comprehensive and quite detailed, the topic of development and current problems of missile defense was well-disclosed. In addition, there is a very detailed and clear infographic showing the current situation with missiles in the world.