Some thoughts at the Diplomat on BMD:
The nub of genuine utility is this; ballistic missile defense can help protect the forward military installations of a state from attack by hyper-accurate ballistic missiles designed to destroy and disrupt military capability. Soviet plans to strike Western European airbases and staging areas with short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) during the opening hours of a NATO-Warsaw Pact war helped drive a sensible interest in theater missile defense. Similarly, the U.S. Navy is quite correct in pursuing BMD options that can protect aircraft carriers and Pacific airbases from the PLA’s Second Artillery.
Unfortunately, little of the public conversation on BMD is held on these terms, either in the United States or abroad. The operational details of ballistic missile usage and the utility of defense are difficult to explain to a general public that is uneducated in and largely indifferent to military affairs. Consequently, BMD advocates drum up the direst possible scenarios to make their case to the public at large, initiating the ritualistic cycle that plays out across the world. This, in turn, hampers realistic assessments of risk, threat, and capability.