In 2001, the United States took a decision to build and deploy a capability to defend against a limited long-range ballistic missile attack. The United States primarily is concerned about the emerging long-range ballistic missile threat from states of proliferation concern•, particularly North Korea and Iran. From the beginning, the United States has made clear that its goal is to defend not only the United States against such missile threats but also its allies, including its European allies.
The United States has moved forward with determination to achieve these goals, including through its withdrawal from the outdated constraints of the ABM Treaty; adoption of a spiral development approach to missile defense; conclusion of agreements with the United Kingdom and Denmark to upgrade early-warning radars at Fylingdales and Thule, respectively; establishment of cooperative development efforts with Japan, Israel, and other nations; and the deployment of radars and ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California. The United States now has a limited operational capability to defend its territory against a simple ballistic missile threat. That capability is focused on defending the United States against the North Korean threat while also providing coverage against the emerging long-range ballistic missile threat from Iran.
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