NPR

Trump's Plan To Zap Incoming Missiles With Lasers Is Back To The Future

The president's 2020 budget plan calls for studying space-based energy weapons as a way to stop warheads. Critics say it didn't work with the "Star Wars" program in the 1980s and it won't work now.
President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, also known as "Star Wars," was a cornerstone of his defense policy. Source: Bettmann Archive

Earlier this year, President Trump laid out an ambitious plan for U.S. missile defenses. "Our goal is simple," Trump said during a speech in January. "To ensure that we can detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States, anywhere, anytime, anyplace."

To reach that goal, the administration's proposed new defense budget calls for hundreds of millions of dollars to study the use of lasers and particle beams in space. "It's new technology," the president said.

Except it isn't.

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