Strauss Center News

Updates from the Strauss Center and our affiliated distinguished scholars and fellows


Sankaran Models the Efficacy of U.S. Missile Defense Systems in the Asia-Pacific Region

Jul 28, 2020 |

Jaganath Sankaran, Assistant Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar, recently published a research article in the Journal of East Asian Studies titled “Missile Defenses and Strategic Stability in Asia: Evidence From Simulations.” In it, he presents the results from his series of simulation experiments, which empirically test “opposing arguments over missile defenses and strategic stability.” The Chinese argue that U.S. and allied missile defense systems are excessive and warrant an increase of their nuclear capabilities. The U.S. contends that these defense systems are limited in scope, necessary to upend a potential North Korean attack, and do not threaten strategic stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Professor Sankaran’s research aims to address a gap in the existing literature on this issue, namely, the lack of empirically-rigorous, physics-based modeling to ascertain the robustness of U.S. missile defense deployment. His analysis begins with an overview of North Korea’s capabilities and doctrine on missile warfare. He then provides an overview of U.S. missile defense systems in the Asia-Pacific region. Sankaran then discusses his three simulation models, which affirm that U.S. missile defense operations in the Asia-Pacific are not excessive. He finds that “existing forward-deployed regional missile defense radars and interceptors do not pose a significant threat to Chinese nuclear deterrence.” His concluding section provides an overview of these results as well as suggestions for U.S. policymakers. Read the full article here.