There is one summary for this bill. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (05/16/1996)

Ballistic Missile Defense Act of 1996 - Declares that it is U.S. policy to develop by the year 2000 a National Missile Defense System (System) that: (1) can be deployed in 2003; (2) shall be capable of providing a highly effective defense of the United States against limited ballistic missile attacks; and (3) shall be rigorously tested during development.

Sets forth, in the following order, U.S. policy regarding the priority for the development and deployment of ballistic missile defense programs: (1) maintaining the operational readiness of the armed forces and modernization of weapon systems to ensure mission effectiveness in the future; (2) completing the development and deployment of essential theater missile defense systems; and (3) developing the System by the year 2000 for deployment in the year 2003 and developing space-based sensors.

Directs the Secretary, in order to implement that policy, to initiate a National Missile Defense Program which shall include: (1) a ground-based interceptor system that provides coverage of the continental United States (including Alaska) and Hawaii; (2) fixed ground-based radars; (3) space-based sensors; and (4) battle management, command, control, and communications. Specifies Program implementing and reporting requirements.

Requires the President to take specified actions to: (1) defend against weapons of mass destruction by preventing the spread of fissile materials and other components; (2) reduce the threat to the United States from such weapons delivered by intercontinental ballistic missiles (including by urging Russia to ratify the START II Treaty); and (3) carry out a program to enhance U.S. capabilities relating to the threat to the United States of a chemical or biological weapons attack inside the United States by unconventional means (establishes in the executive branch an interagency task force to assess and make recommendations concerning such capabilities).

Requires the President to: (1) carry out requirements of this Act in a manner consistent with the ABM Treaty; (2) seek Treaty amendments necessary to deploy the System; and (3) treat any negotiated Treaty amendment as having entered into force only if it is made in the same manner as a treaty. Specifies conditions to be satisfied in order for Treaty modifications restricting theater ballistic missile defense systems to be binding on the United States.