Page 14

The Navy's TBMD capabilities are further subdivided into the Navy area defense (NAD) and Navy theater wide (NTW) systems. If successful, NAD systems are designed to engage reentry vehicles (RVs) delivered by ballistic missiles after they have reentered the atmosphere. NTW systems are designed to engage threats at exo-atmospheric altitudes. This subdivision reflects the fact that the Navy is planning to use different weapon systems for endo-atmospheric and exo-atmospheric engagements.

The issues mentioned in this introduction are discussed in more detail in Chapter 2, Chapter 3, and Chapter 4. Chapter 5 presents the committee's conclusions and recommendations.


Through their evolving strategies Forward...From the Sea1 and Operational Maneuver From the Sea (OMFTS),2 the Navy and Marine Corps have acknowledged a shift in warfare from operations on the open seas to operations in and adjacent to littoral areas. This shift in warfare location presents many technical and operational challenges to naval forces in power projection, the most notable of which may be an increase in the land-based threat to the forces engaged in such operations.

Both TBMD and cruise missile defense (CMD)—including OCMD and ASCMD—are important emerging military capabilities that will be needed if naval forces are to execute missions in and near littoral areas. Today, there are large numbers and varieties of cruise and ballistic missiles in the operational inventories of many potential future adversaries of the United States.

Although high-performance ballistic missiles exist and could become available to potential future adversaries, most of the ballistic missiles that are currently available to such adversaries are of rather unsophisticated design. Many have limited accuracy of delivery and are ineffective for hitting tactical targets. As currently configured, many are nonseparating, single-stage rockets that are less stressing to defense systems than multistage missiles. Many others are not able to deploy penetration aids. In a military sense, these threats will have limited tactical value unless they carry nuclear, chemical, and/or biological warheads. However, even as currently configured, they pose a serious threat to deployed forces and assets, as well as to the political stability of neighboring or allied countries.

1 Department of the Navy. 1994. “Forward...From the Sea, Continuing the Preparation of the Naval Services for the 21st Century,” U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., September 19.

2 Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. 1996. "Operational Maneuver From the Sea," U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., January 4. Available online at <http://www.>

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement