In recent days, the House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee adopted different versions of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2014. They both include provisions for small increases in funding for the Missile Defense Agency—over the Obama Administration’s request.

On June 25, the Independent Working Group on Missile Defense, the Space Relationship, and the Twenty-First Century held a seminar at the U.S. Capitol examining the health of the missile defense program in response to these congressional actions.

Anyone who is interested in the missile defense issue—or the related subjects of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them, the future of deterrence, the danger posed by electromagnetic pulse, and the overall strategic posture of the U.S.—should find the content of this seminar to be informative. The recording of the seminar can be found here.

The issues discussed in the seminar included the missile defense budget, the cost of various missile defense systems, the technological options for advancing the missile defense program, the sea-based and space-based systems in particular, and the prospects for advancing the program.

The Independent Working Group examines the requirements for fielding a robust missile defense capability for the protection of the U.S. and its friends and allies and educates policymakers, including Members of Congress, on how best to meet these requirements as they continue to draft defense authorization and appropriations bills in the course of this year.

The seminar was chaired by Robert Pfaltzgraff of Tufts University and the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis. The panelists making presentations were Robert Soofer of the Senate Armed Services Committee staff, Peter Vincent Pry of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, Jeff Kueter of the George C. Marshall Institute, Vice Admiral J. D. Williams (retired), and myself.