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Ridge Headlines 2007 Missile Defense Conference
March 1, 2007
On February 28, 2007, AFPC was pleased to host the fifth installment of its Capitol Hill conference series on “Missile Defenses and American Security.” This year’s event, held at the Capitol Hill Club, brought together top experts and policymakers to discuss the state of the policy and technology debates surrounding the Bush administration’s efforts to protect the American people from ballistic missile attack.
The keynote address for the conference was given by the Honorable Thomas J. Ridge, former Governor of Pennsylvania and the country’s first Secretary of Homeland Security. In his remarks, Governor Ridge stressed the importance of greater synergy between American homeland defense and missile defense efforts as part of more creative thinking about the asymmetric threats that confront the U.S. in the 21st century. Threats such as electromagnetic pulse attack, cruise and ship-borne missiles, he said, pose a growing danger to the U.S. homeland, and require policymakers in Washington to pursue a “comprehensive strategy for securing the homeland” by incorporating both “traditional domestic security measures and next-generation tactics” such as missile defense.
Subsequently, the conference’s first panel focused on current trends in the fields of proliferation and missile defense. The featured speakers, the Heritage Foundation’s Peter Brookes and AFPC’s own Steve Yates and Ilan Berman, explored a range of cutting edge topics, ranging from Russia’s changing military posture to Asia’s drift toward missile defense to the rising threat potential of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The conference’s second panel, dealing with “future priorities for American strategy,” showcased Thomas Scheber of the National Institute for Public Policy, the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center’s Henry Sokolski, Peter Huessy of the National Defense University Foundation, and retired Air Force Colonel Peter Hays. In their presentations and discussion, these experts ConfFerRencCefocused on changing U.S. nuclear posture, trends in international nuclear proliferation, the changing domestic political discourse over missile defense, and U.S. efforts to secure space.