The Sentinel Decision

  • Lawrence Freedman


The US Administration did not feel that the Minuteman force was immediately endangered by the Soviet build-up. Indeed so long as destruction of the Soviet Union could be ‘assured’ in the aftermath of a surprise first strike it saw no serious threat in terms of any criteria it recognised as being strategically relevant. The Administration did however recognise the threat posed by the build-up to the mobilisation of political support within the US for its strategic policies. McNamara’s policy of restraint, with offensive forces frozen at current levels and ABM deployment forsworn, was put under severe strain by a major Soviet surge in both these areas.


Reentry Vehicle Hard Point Missile System Sentinel System Advance Project Research Agency 
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  1. 12.
    Morton Halperin, ‘The Decision to Deploy the ABM’, World Politics xxv (Oct 1972) p. 69; Newhouse, Cold Dawn p. 80.Google Scholar
  2. 13.
    James Trainor, ‘DOD Says AICBM is Feasible’, Missiles and Rockets, 24 Dec 1962.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lawrence David Freedman 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence Freedman
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal Institute of International AffairsUK

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