Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Mark Gordon


The United States and its allies and partners have deployed three missile defense systems to protect against Iranian and North Korean missile threats: the European Phased Adaptive Approach, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, and Ground-based Missile Defense. Russia and China oppose these systems because they view them as undermining their strategic interests. The purpose of the present study was to better understand the perspectives of Senate and House Armed Services Committee HASC members about the three missile defense systems in congressional hearings. The three models of the congressional behavior model, the preference, simple party, and asymmetric categories, and neorealism and neoliberalism schools of thought were applied with a qualitative content analysis case study approach. After comparing the perspectives of SASC and HASC leaders, some overarching themes for next steps were identified. Findings indicated there needed to be less focus in the United States Congress on alarmist rhetoric and more of a focus on why a specific country is a missile threat. This would go much further in educating and enhancing the awareness of the public and legislative branch. There needed to be more dialogue with nations that are deemed as missile threats to prevent misinterpretation and miscommunication. Lastly, financial resources and time are needed to refine and optimize missile defense systems which would lead to positive social change for the future.