Last week the U.S. had a successful launch of the missile defense system. The missile defense system is key to the U.S. national defense strategy because it  intercepts incoming ballistic missiles and destroys them before they reach their target.

For over 30 years Heritage has been instrumental in pushing the need for a stronger, more comprehensive missile defense strategy. Beginning in 1982, Heritage published its first missile defense study that promoted the idea of destroying missiles before they reached America — an idea that wasn’t commonly thought possible at the time. One year later, President Reagan made his historic announcement of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) that would put these ideas into practice.

Prior to Reagan’s announcement, the policymakers at the time believed that the Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) missile strategy was sufficient. Simply put, the underlying idea behind MAD was to stockpile enough nuclear weapons that even after an enemy attacked you would still have enough left to inflict damage on them.

In the years since Reagan’s announcement of SDI, Heritage has spent a great amount of time educating members of Congress about the importance of a comprehensive missile defense system and promoting research on the subject.

Last week’s successful, timely test marks a significant national defense accomplishment that would not have been possible without your support of Heritage’s work on advancing missile defense.

Read more about the recent missile defense test and why the U.S. needs to keep improving its missile defenses strategy >>

Do you agree with the need for a strong, comprehensive missile defense system? Why or why not?

Comments (82)

Darryl Pauls - June 9, 2017

I think it is important to have a comprehensive missile defense system to deter the rogue nations. But I am still concerned that Iran is going to build an EMP weapon that they will sell to terrorists that can get across our porous Southern Border. Our southern, as well as northern, borders need to be more than lines drawn on a map. They ought to have teeth. When I read that anywhere within 5 miles of the border with Mexico is a no-man’s-land, I’ll feel a lot safer.

Robert M Jones - June 9, 2017

Yes. We must have mds that will missles from any nations,

C.Casperson - June 9, 2017

YES, YES, YES. It is imperative that we have a comprehensive defense system.
It is also imperative that we have a travel ban until we can have intelligent comprehensive vetting in place.
There has been talk of the border wall being made with solar panels… pretty great idea! Integrity is the need of the hour, now and always… Thank you Heritage Foundation for your great work.

Patricia Edwards - June 9, 2017

I believe we need a very strong and up to date missle defense plan. I see it as a necessity with North Korea with their refusing to stop launching test missiles specifically intended to hit the US one day.

James Fruge - June 9, 2017

Yes, more than ever we need to continue to foster freedom to all nations

Alexander Romanov - June 9, 2017

President Trump said “America First!” – this should be our policy in everything we deal with, including our defense. America First – no matter what the cost.

Walter Klaffenboeck - June 9, 2017

I agree with you 100%. We need to do all we can do to stay safe.

Ralph Staples - June 9, 2017

I believe it is imperative to have a US missile defense system with nations such as North Korea and Iran who would potentially attack us even without provocation. The MAD concept does not mean much to countries that do not hold the same values and beliefs as the US.

Bill Butterworth - June 9, 2017

Absolutely, deploy it ASAP.

Paul D Huegel - June 9, 2017

As a retired USAF officer who worked with the Missile Defense Agency there is no question in my mind about the importance of strong missile defense program. These development programs are not easy or inexpensive but they vital to our strategic defense.

Donald Cheatham - June 9, 2017

Absolutely critical!

Susan Fitzgerald - June 9, 2017

Our missile launch is wonderful news. The US needs to continually test and improve our defense systems.

ROBERT MCWAIN - June 9, 2017

Protect the USA.

Patricia Gillenwater - June 9, 2017

It is just plain ‘common sense’ to support measures to protect America and our allies.

Dr Willard Thompson (age 90) - June 9, 2017

keep up the superb work?

Gene Bahls - June 9, 2017

No doubt in my mind. ?? Can we , after spotting enemy launch, 1. Know where launched and by who with absolute. Certainty? 2. Counter launch superior strike while enemy missile​ in the air??

Patricia Malicki - June 9, 2017

Agreed ! !

Stirling Eastvold - June 9, 2017


Phillip Barbour - June 9, 2017

We need to stay on the ‘cutting edge’ of missile defense technology and capability, since North Korea, Iran, and other ‘rogue’ nations are obviously not standing still on defeating these types of weapon systems.
(Thanks?), to the previous administration, we have some catching up to do protecting our countries borders, and skies.

JoGargano - June 9, 2017

Our protection from North Korean or Iranian missiles is most important. Americans need some relief from the anxieties we are suffering as a result of the laxities of the Obama administration. Our nation is suffering from the last 10 years’ of stupid rule. God help Pres Trump get the country back on the right track.

Eric Wallin - June 9, 2017

An effective missile defense system would safeguard America and hopefully convince rogue nations of the futility of attacking the US or its allies. I suspect China is behind S. Korea’s reluctance to embrace this aid.

Robert Duitz - June 9, 2017

Defense from North Korea, China, Iran, ISIS & Russia

Need I say anything else!

Ronald jones - June 9, 2017

I agree 100%. We need this and a very strong military to defend our nation.

Tom Lanners - June 9, 2017

Yes we need an effective missile defense system.
However, that just goes along with one of the only and most important functions of the Federal Government, to provide for the common defense.
Of course do to the previous President, we are light years behind in doing just that.
Going to see my darling grandchildren tomorrow.

David H Brown - June 9, 2017

YES, of course I agree. Isn’t it logical! Thank you for your focus on this action and the many others you do on a daily basis to protect our country!!

Clarence Daugherty - June 9, 2017

Of course it is essential to have a missile defense program…it’s only common sense to stop the strike before it happens. We need the best technology to protect our nation.

Wes Edwards - June 9, 2017

Absolutely defense is the best measure. I was working on B52Ds in the early 1960’s when the policy was MAD. We had many bombers with multiple weapons on board circling our north borders in case we needed a rapid response. Mutual destruction doesn’t make much sense.

Edward W English Sr - June 9, 2017

We DO need a defensible missile system because there are too many other countries that would like to use such a system of their own to remove our country from the face of the earth, and a defensive system is the only known way to intercept incoming missiles before they are close enough to cause any damage to our country.

Robert Petersen - June 9, 2017

This missile system is essential. My son an electronic engineer worked for Raytheon 15-20 years go on the Exoatmospheric kinetic vehicle and it worked on ICBM’s then so I hope it is improved now.

Wes Edwards - June 9, 2017

Here’s a follow up to my previous post for anyone that may be interested.

stephanie wilson - June 9, 2017

i do, just like pres. george w bush did. i’m disappointed that he never got credit for it. i remember bush making that deal w/ poland. i loved it. i was upset when obama came in & promptly threw poland under the bus. i’m happy that trump supports it!

Robert Hammons - June 9, 2017

More than ever!!!!!!!!!!!
That little twerp in North Korea is a real head case!!!!!!!!!!!

Dr Jessie Hummel - June 9, 2017

Yes a good defense will always be a strong player on any field, We watched the Patriot missiles in Iraq and felt safer because of them.

Roger Edwards - June 9, 2017

I strongly agree with the missile defense system. It demonstrates that anybody who launches a missile against us will be defeated and probably annihilated. It will be a strong deterrent.

Lawrence Dillon - June 9, 2017

I absolutly agree. I believe in a policy of, Talk Softly and Carry A Big Stick!

We need to put our land based, sea based anti ballistic missile systems in the most advanced condition possible.

Ed Aiello - June 9, 2017

Absolutely, go U S A,.

John Leary - June 9, 2017

Missile Defense weapons need to be deployed, and their operators must be able to use them. Without these two elements. no amount if technology will protect Americans. The interceptor technology is essential, but not sufficiect. Lastly, border control “capability” (technology, deployment and will to use) MUST interdict more subtle threats than missiles. Mr R M Jones is on the right track: defense capability -2017 must also interdict exploding shipping containers and eBay UPS packages. Technology and deployment are necessary but rhe will to use is the lynchpin. That is wy Mr Trump is so valuable: He understands this.

G. Allan Barnes - June 9, 2017

Yes, but we must greatly improve detection and response time. What I fear is, even the best of the intercepts could conceivably be over exaggerated to fool people, and our enemies into thinking we have a viable defense system. Remember how the original Patriot system was supposed to be the cat’s meow of missile defense ? When in fact, it was only effective about half the time. In conclusion, we must pair detection/intercepts with the need to respond with overwhelming force to crush any offensive launch.

Gordon - June 9, 2017

We definitely need a missile defense system and one that can intercept hypersonic missiles being developed and they will be in service in 2018!!
Work fast and hard or were all cooked geese!

Tom Hawkins - June 9, 2017

It was a good idea in 1980. It was an important goal in 2010. It will save our bacon in 2040. All hail Ronald Reagen

Jerry Bland - June 10, 2017

Yes, agree with Mr. Paul’s, however, we need to remember that a country has a sovereign right to do what they, however, we have to remember that if they say or indicate they are going hurt us then we have a sovereign right to defend ourselves. Isn’t that what we are doing in the middle East and Afghanistan?

Ken Russell - June 10, 2017

Needit to stop the nut in North Korea

Douglas Backes - June 10, 2017

The US needs a rogue nation / terrorist / major opponent “misfire” protection umbrella. A full comprehensive system is not feasible as costs of defense are much greater than cost of overwhelming missile production and deployment in response to that defense. Therefore we need to work with our potential adversaries to negotiate non-escalating defense capabilities that all major nuclear parties can agree as sufficient for each for the above stated mission.

Lynne Riley - June 10, 2017

Absolutely! Missile defense systems should be one of our top priorities.

Da Li - June 10, 2017

Yes, I support a much more stronger USA who need such missile defense systems. In my opinion,our US could give South Korea some nuclear weapon self defense right to increase our US in military buffer in that area, in such way, if North Korea try dangerous nuclear weapons, let South Korea make reaction to reduce the military pressure of our USA, further more we can defeat our potential enemy P.R.China, the communist monster. Thanks. Member Da Li.

Betty - June 10, 2017

Absolutely, and it needs to be maintained, updated and tested with some frequency in order to have peace. Since we are imperfect humans, jealousy tends to raise its ugly head every once in a while and at any given time there is always a rogue nation that wants more or seeks destruction.

Kathryn Benedic - June 10, 2017

Agreed. Our missile defense is needed now, more than ever! Obama weakened our position in the world, by allowing our military defense symstems to lie stagnant, leaving us easy prey to rogue countries like North Korea. We need to stand ready. Any direct threat to America should be proactive, not reactive. That’s common sense! I feel safer with Trump at the helm, than in 8 years with Obama, who was hell-bent on destroying us.

Mark Anglin - June 10, 2017

It is only a short matter of time until long range missiles will be in the hands of our most radical enemies, and America may soon learn what it must feel like to be Israel. The “MAD” defensive posture only works if all of your opponents are sane and would only attack to advance toward a rational goal, and today’s environment is far from that. No deterrant exists for an attack whose goal is pain and destruction for its own sake. We must be prepared to stop the attacks that certainly will come.

Linda Carpenter - June 10, 2017

Definitely for it! Because an attack will be attempted, and probably soon.

sara tucker - June 10, 2017


Dave Katzer - June 10, 2017

A strong defense is the best offense. We are able to defend our country, those who would want to attack, won’t.

Philip M. Bowie - June 10, 2017

It is vital for us as a nation to have a strong missile defense against our enemies.

Mrs. Phyllis Eix - June 10, 2017

I absolutely agree that our National security requires us to be ready for any military action taken against us or our Allies, with the most “cutting edge” tools at our disposal.

Dawn Dorsey - June 10, 2017

As President Reagan famously stated it, we can best seek peace through strength. Missile defense gives us the chance to shoot down incoming attacks before they kill people, instead of just mop up the mess. Our best defense must be to do everything possible to prevent and deflect attacks, not to cower behind braver people and claim to be “leading from behind”.

Mary Reiterman - June 10, 2017

I agree with most of the above comments. We need a strong defense system

Walter Fraker - June 10, 2017

Absolutely, don’t listen to those who claim it raises the idea it elevates the heartburn of our enemies. They don’t like us now and won’t in the future – look at the history of the relationship with the enemies, that’s why we call them enemies.

Reverend Lydia Lynne Fuller - June 10, 2017

Of course, I agree! What sane person would not agree that the USA should have the best Missile DEFENSE System in the world for Freedom and Liberty. Defending life, property, and resources are paramount.

Charlie Stinson - June 10, 2017

Considering the times we live in, we definitely need a strong missile defense system. Our military defense cannot be too strong. My concern is, it maybe not strong enough.

Susanna Wendler - June 10, 2017

We need to be on the cutting edge of technology to protect the USA always. So very important!

Bill Coates - June 10, 2017

I agree with Darryl Paul’s comment that an EMP weapon is the most likely scenario. A multiple-missile ground-burst attack is more risky for the attacker. A single missile launched offshore hides the perp. A small number of very reliable defensive missiles or laser weapons would suffice. Border control is still essential.

Clair Williams - June 10, 2017

Yes. We need to be able to defend ourselves from rogues who only want to cause trouble and engage us in a war.

Trudy Martin - June 10, 2017

I agree that a MDS is mandatory to protect lives. It is the duty of the federal government to protect it’s citizens.

Patti - June 10, 2017

Walk softly and carry A BIG STICK!

Mary L.Trentham - June 10, 2017

I can only add my voice to the opinion that we need a strong middle defense system, which is the responsibility of the Federal government, not withstanding the fact that the Obama administration violated that responsibility by entering into an agreement with Iran, a country that had vowed to destroy us, and releasing billions of $ to this rogue nation that it is using to advance it’s nuclear weapons system and sponsor terrorism throughout the world.

Marian Tone - June 10, 2017

Yes, we need a strong, modern national defense, including this, controls on entry, and a strong economy.

Forrest Rowland - June 10, 2017

Yes. Very intelligent decision to make this country safe. It is very important that the citizens of the blessed USA demand that all of our law makers work for the people and not for the government to make sure that all citizens are safe . Far to many people are not educates in these area.
Thank you sincerely for all the extremely hard and endless work you are doing at Heritage.

Janet Norcott - June 10, 2017

We must have a Misssile Defense system in place, not just at home but around the World. I would go further and say that we must install ( as previously planned prior to Obama) in Poland. Eastern Europe is th ewbuffer zone to Western Europe. I would also put them on specially designed ships. The Battle zones have changed. before they were from Germany. Now the battle zones are
N. Korea, Middle East. We need to relocate some American bases to the Mediterranean, Japan, Alaska, USA.
We must be responsible enough to protect future generations. To stop missiles before they reach us is absolutely necessary.

Nancy A F Brizzee - June 10, 2017

Absolutely! If I were an evolutionist “survival of the fittest” is the theory! I am a creationist and suspect God expects one to be prudent and do their part!

walter mattson - June 11, 2017

It is very important to have as many allies as possible located around the world in the task of keeping the US and its friends safe from those who possess weapons that can destroy peace loving nations. That means that the US weapons system must be vastly superior to anything that NK, Iran, Russia, China or any other possible enemy.

Roger Helser - June 11, 2017

Pres Reagan was right on the money about needed this defense system…but speaking of money, not sure how it was going to get paid for??

DB - June 11, 2017

We need a comprehensive defense system that has many teeth. Missile defense is an important component. Considered with border control that includes the possibility of moving populations away from both borders and many, many more border control agents. And we must not forget that the oceans are not adequate as a border unless other protective actions are implement. We need to more vigilantly monitor all visas. We need to restrict or stop open travel–in effect visa-less traveling. We need to refuse to accept return of our citizens who travel to countries who harbor or turn a blind eye to terrorism. We need, in short, a greatly expanded border security policy.

unknown - June 11, 2017

Are we not allowed to use North Korea’s test missles as target practice in international waters?

Ann Sharon Pelletier - June 11, 2017

I agree that we need a comprehensive missile defense system. We need to be safe.We need to be strong and we need to lead our country.

Henry C. Holder - June 11, 2017

Our enemies will give no warning of an impending missle launch. In doing so we must have a defense missile system that will detect and destroy incoming missiles before the missile reaches American land sites. With that we must have naval ships stationed in the general area if they launch to take retaliation action against those launching the missile.

Richard Singletary - June 11, 2017


stephen h palmer - June 11, 2017

I think that it is imperative that we continue to build our missile defense shield and continue to update and improve our ability to take out ICBM’s. Country’s with intelligent sane leaders do not want a nuclear exchange. They know the outcome of such an action. On the other hand the Middle East terrorists and North Korea do not have sane leadership and the threat from them is high. If either one launched a nuclear attack. I would hope that we (America) would not retaliate with a nuclear response. The majority of the people in both threat areas are peaceful. The poor common North Koreans do not need to be wiped out. Just like our people they get up and go about their business to live and survive. I think we should build a secret multi-nation attack on the nuclear sites with cruise missile’s and take them all out at the same time along with the leadership . Through our satellite surveillance we should be able to pin point these locations. We should continue to press the free world to join in suppressing the terrorists in the Middle East. They continue to force their vile beliefs on everybody.

LeAnne Tillar - June 11, 2017

Peace through strength is the only way to keep the peace. Other countries that wish to take over our beautiful nation will think twice before attacking a country that could blow their country off the map, so to speak. The U.S. may not be a “perfect” country, but our Constitution and laws based on the Judeo-Christian ethics allow us the best chance of living the way God wants people to live.

Edward Krakty - June 12, 2017

No doubt in my mind. ?? Can we , after spotting enemy launch, 1. Know where launched and by who with absolute. Certainty? 2. Counter launch superior strike while enemy missile​ in the air??

Retta - June 13, 2017

Yes, it is very important for us to have a comprehensive missile defense system. America needs to be kept safe.

Wayne Kohout - June 13, 2017

As protection against rogue nuclear-armed nations, or in the slight chance of a miss-fired rocket/warhead, this system is a must!

Harriet Curry - June 15, 2017

The best defense is to be very strong. Thank heavens President Trump and his advisors realize how weak our military had become and are changing that.

Harriet Curry

G. Allan Barnes - June 15, 2017

Yes, however, the original Patriot system was sold to us as the ultimate in missile defense systems, but was only effective about half the time. Technologies will have to improve greatly in order to have a really effective missile defense system because with only seconds to react, early detection is remains vital.

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