SDI may have been first dubbed "Star Wars" by opponent Dr. Carol Rosin, a consultant and former spokeswoman for Wernher von Braun. However, Missile Defense Agency historians attribute the term to a Washington Post article published March 24, 1983, the day after the Star Wars speech, which quoted Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy describing the proposal as "reckless Star Wars schemes."
Some critics used that term derisively, implying it was an impractical
science fiction fantasy. In addition, the American media's liberal use
of the moniker (despite President Reagan's request that they use the
program's official name) did much to damage the program's credibility.
In comments to the media on March 7, 1986, Acting Deputy Director of
SDIO, Dr. Gerold Yonas, described the name "Star Wars" as an important
tool for Soviet disinformation and asserted that the nickname gave an entirely wrong impression of SDI