The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the proposed National Missile Defense (NMD) system, which is designed to intercept a limited number of ballistic missiles launched by "rogue" states such as North Korea, will cost $60 billion through to 2015, roughly twice the amount estimated by the Clinton Administration.

US President Clinton is due to decide by November whether the NMD system involving about 100 interceptors should be fielded to protect North America. Russia and China have objected to the system, saying it violates the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Russia has reportedly offered to co-operate with the USA in restraining North Korea's ballistic missile programme in exchange for termination of the NMD project. Meanwhile, a senior US military official has added to the controversy by suggesting that the NMD system should not protect Canadian cities if Canada fails to support the project.

Source: Flight International