Anti-Ballistic-Missile Treaty [ABM Treaty] Law and Legal Definition

Anti-Ballistic-Missile Treaty of 1972 (ABM Treaty) was a treaty entered between the U.S. and the Soviet Union to limit the number of defensive antiballistic missile (ABM) systems that the U.S. and the former Soviet Union could use in preparation for nuclear war. ABM treaty limited each country's supply of remote-controlled, long-range nuclear rockets, or intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The ABM Treaty was made in conjunction with the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks of 1969-72 (SALT I). The treaty limited each party to two ABM sites. Both of these sites with more than one hundred ABM launchers and interceptors at each site was to protect an ICBM silo deployment area on one site, and the second site was to protect the national capital. The treaty further banned the development, testing, or deployment of sea-based, air-based, space-based, or mobile land-based ABM systems. Furthermore, it barred the transfer or deployment of ABM systems to or in other nations.

Later, in the year 2001, the U.S. announced its disagreement to follow the ABM treaty. As a result, President George W. Bush made the formal announcement and a six-month period was set in motion for ending the treaty. The U.S. withdrawal from the treaty was prompted by the desire to build and deploy a long-range missile defense system that would protect the nation from attacks by rogue nations such as North Korea.