News & Comment

Carter's Plan for MX Lives On

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Science  30 Apr 1982:
Vol. 216, Issue 4545, pp. 492-495
DOI: 10.1126/science.216.4545.492


Early this year, the U.S. land-based force of nuclear missiles became vulnerable—on paper—to destruction in a preemptive attack by the Soviet Union. The Air Force has worried about this problem for a long time, searching high and low for a better place to put both the existing, silo-based Minuteman missiles and a new missile, the MX.

Under the Carter Admnistration, the Air Force agreed to a missle basing plan known as MPS, for multiple protective shelters. The Reagan Administration has ostensibly dropped this plan in favour of several alternatives.

Previous articles in this series explored why U.S. officials became alarmed about missile vulnerability; the genesis of a short-term plan to put more missiles into silos; continuing Air Force opposition to a plan for missiles on constantly roving aricraft; and a bizare plan to bury missiles deep underground.