Report of the American Physical Society Study Group on Boost-Phase Intercept Systems for National Missile Defense: Scientific and Technical Issues

Rev. Mod. Phys. 76, S1 – Published 5 October 2004
David K. Barton, Roger Falcone, Daniel Kleppner, Frederick K. Lamb, Ming K. Lau, Harvey L. Lynch, David Moncton, David Montague, David E. Mosher, William Priedhorsky, Maury Tigner, and David R. Vaughan


This issue of RMP has, as a special supplement, the report of an APS study group on the physics and engineering issues that must be addressed in designing a missile defense system capable of intercepting a hostile missile while it is still burning, the so-called “boost phase.” The challenges for boost-phase intercept are significant, chiefly because of the short time window during which detection, decision, launch, and interception must occur. Some aspects of the problem have not previously been analyzed in such depth in the public domain. This study was made on the basis of unclassified information and so is presented here in its entirety.


  • Published 5 October 2004
  • Publisher error corrected 13 October 2004

© 2004 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

David K. Barton

  • Hanover, NH

Roger Falcone

  • University of California, Berkeley

Daniel Kleppner*

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Frederick K. Lamb*

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ming K. Lau

  • Sandia National Laboratories

Harvey L. Lynch

  • Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

David Moncton

  • Argonne National Laboratory

David Montague

  • LDM Associates, Menlo Park, CA

David E. Mosher

  • RAND, Washington, DC

William Priedhorsky

  • Los Alamos National Laboratory

Maury Tigner

  • Cornell University

David R. Vaughan

  • RAND, Santa Monica, CA

  • *Co-Chair
  • Staff Director


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