Missile Defence

Missile Defence is an offensive war-fighting system designed as part of United States plans to dominate and control space. Plans for this system to be in place by 2020 are well under way. The consequences of Australia's complicity with this system could be long term and far-reaching.

Within missile defence there are two main systems:

  • theatre missile defence is proposed to intercept short- to medium-range ballistic missiles. Theatre missile defence is mobile and is designed to protect forward-deployed military forces, population centres and civilian assets from short- and medium-range ballistic missile attack.
  • strategic or global missile defence is proposed to intercept long-range or intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The stated justification for strategic missile defence is to protect the United States from a limited strike of ICBMs from "rogue" nations, or unauthorised or accidental launches from one of the major nuclear weapons powers.

However, far from reducing the threat of the use of missiles against the US or other nations, missile defence will increase it.

Missile defence will:

  • instigate a renewed arms race by undermining international security and stability. We have seen evidence of this in recent times with Russia, China and the USA all testing or threatening further development of missile defence systems.
  • proliferate missile technology because to implement missile defence, participating nations need to align with US missile delivery technology by making changes to existing defence capabilities.
  • remain technically unfeasible because the system is likely to be vulnerable to countermeasures that are easier to build than the long-range missiles they target. Technological problems that have plagued missile defence may still prove insurmountable. However, that the system gives only the illusion of protection, is in itself profoundly dangerous.
  • have profound health and environmental impacts, particularly through the consequences of the fallout from an intercepted missile (potentially with a nuclear, biological or chemical warhead) being dispersed over populated areas.
  • not address the real threats. Australia must make a sound assessment of the threat posed by ballistic missile proliferation, including the likelihood of any attack on Australia, and examine what effective measures may be put in place to address this threat. Diplomacy within our region and globally, commitment to international efforts to eliminate weapons of mass destruction and processes designed to address the root causes of terrorism are all far more worthwhile investments in our security both long- and short-term.
  • implicate Australia in preparations for nuclear strikes, whether pre-emptive or retaliatory. It is understood that the Pine Gap facility in central Australia will play an important role in missile defence, as a relay ground station. 
  • test Australian democracy and sovereignty: Despite the far-reaching consequences for Australians and for global security from missile defence, this issue, and in particular our role in it, has received little debate in our parliament, and no consultation whatsoever with the Australian people. These grave omissions reflect poorly on the health of democratic process in this country.

MAPW urges the Australian government to join those nations that are striving for the elimination of all nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, and reaffirms its view that Australia should not be involved in or support missile defence research, development, trials or operations.

You can show your concerns about Australia's role in Missile Defence plans by:

  • becoming a member of your state MAPW branch
  • writing a letter to the Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and the Minister for Foreign Affairs expressing your concerns about Australia’s role in missile defence plans

Essential reading: