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History of the United States' Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)

by Ron Kurtus (updated 22 January 2022)

The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was an anti-ballistic missile system developed by the United States in the 1980s and early 1990s during the Reagan administration. The concept was to form a defensive shield against a nuclear missile attack from the Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.). The popular press designated the program as "Star Wars" and was often critical of its extreme cost.

Also during this period, Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger mandated that the military adopt the Total Quality Management (TQM) methodology to improve quality and reduce costs in military contracts.

Lessons learned from these historical events are important in politics, business and life itself. Historical lessons come from the successes and mistakes of people who were doing something. There is a need for people who have a sense of history and have learned from previous events. Your knowledge and skills in this area can help advance your career or improve your business.

The purpose of these free online lessons is to give you a start at improving your history interpretation skills.

SDI Contents

Development of SDI

Ronald Reagan's Announcement of SDI in 1983 - Speech

Overview of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)

SDI Charter

SDI Glossary of Terms

Know the Facts About SDI - By Maj. Gen. Robert Rankine (1988)

Concept Proposal for Space Defense System (SDS)

Proposed Development Life-Cycle of the SDI Program

Statement of Work for the SDI Space Based Interceptor

Total Quality Management in SDI


Three Phase Approach to TQM in the Air Force's SDI Programs - Presentation


TQM Newsletters

Space Based Interceptor TQM

SBI April 1989 - PDF (174K)

SBI May 1989 - PDF (257K)

SBI June 1989 - PDF (288K)

SBI July 1989 - PDF (314K)

SBI August 1989 - PDF (484K)

SDI Programs TQM

SDI September 1989 - PDF (331K)

SDI December 1989 - PDF (380K)

SDI March 1990 - PDF (496K)

SDI May 1990 - PDF (517K)

SDI July 1990 - PDF (513K)

SDI November 1990 - PDF (484K)

Space Systems Division AFSC TQM

SSD January 1991 - PDF (665K)

SSD March 1991 - PDF (1079K)

SSD May 1991 - PDF (1057K)


SDI Resources

History Resources

TQM Resources

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