The Trump administration is in the final leg of its missile defense review which will be soon be forthcoming. In anticipation of that report, General Trey Obering, a former Director of the Missile Defense Agency, recently gave a “look into the future” and how he saw what he termed the coming “revolution in missile defense”.
Up to this past year, the legal guidance for our missile defenses has been that they would be limited and designed to stop only rogue state missile threats. However, the 1999 Missile Defense Act was amended in 2017 to eliminate the term “limited”.
This will now allow the United States to build stronger defenses that are needed, rather than those arbitrarily circumscribed by critics of missile defense, who were insistent when the bill passed the U.S. Congress in 1999 that any defenses be strictly “limited”. Their support was necessary to pass the legislation in the Senate, so at that time, the restriction was accepted.
Obering stated that the Constitution does not say provide a “limited defense” of the people. The only reason the U.S. provided a limited missile defense initially was: “that’s all the country could technologically and politically do”. Moreover, apparently Congress in 1999 accepted such limits up front in the hope that eventually the law’s restrictions could be removed.