Defense of Cities by Antiballistic Missiles*

  • C. M. Haaland
  • E. P. Wigner
Part of the The Collected Works of Eugene Paul Wigner book series (WIGNER, volume B / 8)


Given a number of short-range anti-ballistic missiles (ABM), one would like to distribute them among the possible targets in such a way as to minimize the fatalities which an attacker can cause. We have solved this mini-max problem by an elementary mathematical method. We found that there is an optimal distribution of the defending missiles which remains optimal independent of the size of the attack, provided the total number of defending missiles and the number of targets are reasonably large. Calculations for the U.S. indicate that the number of fatalities can be further reduced by a factor of 4 to 7 by means of passive defense, i.e., blast shelters, similar to those under Chinese cities.


Optimal Defense Passive Defense Stanford Research Institute Effective Attack Additional Fatality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. M. Haaland
    • 1
  • E. P. Wigner
    • 2
  1. 1.Health Physics DivisionOak Ridge National LaboratoryOak RidgeUSA
  2. 2.Physics DepartmentPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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