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The President's Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) began in 1983 following his historic March 23, 1983 speech. The SDI program has enjoyed substantial progress since this beginning. As the SDI begins its fourth year, the outlines of a basic system architecture, feasible for deployment in the 1990s, begins to emerge. In addition, SDI technical progress shows great promise not only for an initial strategic defense system, but also for maintaining defense effectiveness into the first decades of the next century against countermeasures designed specifically to defeat defenses.