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Document: Report to Congress on U.S. Prompt Global Strike, Ballistic Missiles

The following is the Feb. 3, 2017 Congressional Research Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues.

  • Donald Carey

    The problem that our enemies cannot distinguish such weapons from nuclear ones cannot be understated. Also, the cost to use an ICBM to take out a couple of terrorists would be ridiculous.

    • NavySubNuke

      So what? The mostly incorrect complaint that they can’t distinguish is a red herring. No one starts a nuclear war with a missile or two. Besides, only Russia even has the ability to detect one of these launching anyway. Additionally these actually fly at a much lower altitude than an MMIII or D5 warhead would follow which makes them easy to distinguish once they are detected – but even then only Russia can for sure detect them and China might be able to along some launch azimuths.
      Additionally, no one is talking about using these against terrorists any longer. They cost too much and just aren’t worth it. What they are useful for is destroying a North Korean ICBM that is fueling and erecting into a launch position for instance. Or taking out the satellite down links and over the horizon radars China’s anti-ship ballistic missiles depend on to be able to take out our carriers at long range.
      Finally, if you had actually read the report you would realize that the effort to launch these from an ICBM died years ago after the failure of HTV-2. The new program, launching them from a submarine at intermediate range, is much more realistic and cost effective. The trouble is that “cost effective” is still billions in research and development and a few billion more for production and sustainment — billions no one in DoD is willing to cough up at this point.
      Maybe if Russia keeps violating the INF we will really get in the game on this – you can shoot the intermediate range missile just as well off the back of a truck as you can a submarine after all – but I highly doubt it. For now this is just an S&T effort to try to keep pace with what Russia and China are developing in this area.

    • Borris Kutzyanutzoff

      They will be used against A2/AD

  • incredulous1

    We need to redefine the goals and establish new RoE for limited engagements. It should be noted that China of late has been moving a lot of conventional missiles around and assumes they have an upper hand since we concentrate on using ICBM only for the Triad. So the concept is something that needs to be re-assessed.