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Op-ed by Joy Mitra on US 2019 Missile Defense Review

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The US 2019 Missile Defense Review: A View From Asia

On the heels of the first and the second nuclear ages, respectively shaped by bipolar nuclear competition and nuclear nonproliferation concerns, the dawn of a “third nuclear age,” a much-debated concept, seems incumbent with the world witnessing a renewed strategic competition between the three superpower states of the United States, Russia, and China. The United States also faces a nuclear rivalry with regional powers like North Korea, which continues to modernize its arsenal, and Iran, which could pursue an intercontinental-range ballistic missile (ICBM).

In response to the threat from “rogue states” and “revisionist powers,” the 2019 United States Missile Defense Review (MDR), released by the United States Department of Defense (DoD), has asserted that it seeks to detect and destroy “any type of target” either “before or after launch.” The MDR states an intention in the United States to develop high-end capabilities like space based sensors for launch detection, modified interceptors for the F-35, and drones with mounted lasers to exercise boost-phase interception capability.

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