The MX missile system requires the placement of intercontinental ballistic missiles, each equipped with ten nuclear warheads, in constantly shifting patterns of underground deployment at sites that occupy vast tracts of land. This is a strategem for disaster, Herbert Scoville argues. "The scale of the MX deployment program almost defies comprehension. It can only be described by using the superlative case—the most expensive, the most everything, except effective.
In this book Scoville, President of the Arms Control Association and formerly a senior official in the Central Intelligence Agency, reveals the MX to be an unnecessary and extraordinarily expensive project that will not fufill its original intent. He points out that land-based missiles will still be vulnerable to attack and may actually increase the risk of such an attack, since the MX will lead to a new and accelerated arms race.
Scoville presents the history of the MX system from the Carter to Reagan administrations. He describes security implications and the future of nuclear arms control; the cost in dollars, resources, and local social and environmental impact; and alternatives to the MX system through arms limitation or sea-basing.