Today the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force—under the aegis of the Missile Defense Agency—are involved in developing ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems and concepts. Ballistic missile defense, both theater and national, have high national priorities. And those concepts—the Army and Navy systems using interceptor missiles, and the Air Force system a laser weapon—all employ non-nuclear technologies.
These are in marked contrast with the previous U.S. efforts at ballistic missile intercept concepts, which were largely based on nuclear weapons. Indeed, some observers contend that all previous significant BMD schemes would have employed nuclear warheads. And, considerable resources were expanded on those systems, one of which became operational-for almost five months.