Ballistic missile capabilities continue to increase with the proliferation of missile technology. Over 20 countries have ballistic missile systems and it is likely that missiles will be a threat in future conflicts involving U.S. forces. Ballistic missiles have been used in several conflicts over the last 20 years, including the Iran-Iraq war, the Afghan civil war, the war in Yemen, the 1991 and 2003 Persian Gulf conflicts, and the Russian military action in Chechnya.
In order to better understand ballistic missile capabilities, this document addresses ballistic missile basics, characteristics, proliferation, and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) from select ballistic missile capable countries.
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