For the U.S. Navy and a growing number of its partners, the key word is ‘Aegis.’
The United States has put in place an integrated—if still embryonic—national-level ballistic-missile defense system (BMDS). All elements of the land, sea, air, and space system are linked together to provide the best affordable defense against a growing threat of ballistic missiles, some armed with weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The U.S. Navy’s contribution is based on the Aegis weapon system and has been on patrol in guided-missile cruisers and destroyers since 2004. Aegis BMD has grown in importance based on its proven performance as well as its long-term potential. 1 Indeed, at this time Aegis BMD may well be the first among equals based on its multimission capabilities as well as its ability to integrate with the emerging BMD capabilities of allied and partner nations.