The United States Has Ushered in the ‘Missile Defense Age’

The United States Has Ushered in the ‘Missile Defense Age’

A U.S. warship prowling the Pacific Ocean has officially ushered in the Missile Defense Age, firing an SM-3 missile-killing rocket to destroy a satellite tumbling toward Earth. "The intercept occurred, and we're very confident we hit the satellite," Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calmly reported.

Like the Rocket Age, which terrified Americans when Sputnik orbited the globe and then transfixed the world when Armstrong took his giant leap on the lunar surface; like the Jet Age, which turned the skies over Korea into a killing field and then opened the way to inexpensive, high-speed global travel; like the Nuclear Age, which ended a war by erasing two cities, put Armageddon within man's grasp and then provided boundless supplies of energy; this new epoch promises to bring both highs and lows, worry and wonder.

To be sure, countries like the United States, China and the now-defunct U.S.S.R. have tested anti-satellite weapons (or ASATs) before, but this is different because of what the U.S. used to intercept this satellite -- and how the military did it.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.