Jean-Loup Samaan and Guillaume Lasconjarias, research fellows at the NATO Defense College in Italy, outline in this issue brief for the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security what NATO can learn from the Israeli experience in missile defense. Samaan and Lasconjarias identify five domains where Israel’s missile defense experience may offer both helpful lessons and misleading analogies relevant to the NATO experience.

These areas include:

  • differences in threat perception that lead to different missile defense policies
  • the political benefits of missile defense
  • economic implications of missile defense systems
  • the operational limits of missile defense
  • missile defense as it relates to deterrence

Samaan and Lasconjarias’ analysis puts NATO’s debate on missile defense in perspective by providing a case study for the issues NATO must confront in the missile defense space. The authors conclude that while Israel’s highly publicized experience with missile defense offers important lessons for NATO, the issues relevant to one small country offer only so many applications to a transcontinental alliance of twenty-eight sovereign states.