According to press reports, the House Armed Services Committee has preserved a provision in its draft of annual defense legislation that would place ballistic missile defense interceptors on the East Coast to defend U.S. territory more effectively against ballistic missile attacks, including short-range missiles carrying electromagnetic pulse (EMP) warheads that could be launched from ships.
This is a wise step, because ballistic missile technology is proliferating, as made evident by ongoing missile development programs in Iran and North Korea. In a recent study, The Heritage Foundation made a similar recommendation. The Heritage proposal looks at a variety of options to meet this need for a more robust territorial missile defense capability. Specifically, we looked at fielding some combination of Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) interceptors on land and Navy Standard missile interceptors both on ships that transit the East Coast and on land. Ultimately, Heritage recommends putting missile defense interceptors in space that provide a global missile defense capability, including for U.S. territory.