$1B For Prompt Global Strike

Posted: December 14, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

Show me the money, eh?

From NTI:

The Obama administration expects to spend more than $1 billion in the next half decade to study and develop potential non-nuclear "prompt global strike" systems, the U.S. State Department said yesterday (see GSN, Sept. 22).

$1B would provide for plenty of prompt global strike (PGS) studying but not much for developing.  It’s interesting a link from 22 September 2010 is being brought out and that the State Department is talking about PGS.  Historically, it’s been in DoD’s purview.

The global strike technology is intended to offer an alternative to using long-range nuclear-tipped missiles to eliminate major imminent threats, such as a North Korean missile being prepared for launch. However, some observers have expressed concern that, under certain conditions, a conventional-armed ballistic missile might be mistaken for a strategic weapon, leading another nuclear power to launch a devastating response.

Yes, those “observers” are the usual suspects from the arms control industry.  In reality, PGS weapons would launch from PGS sites, perhaps Vandenberg and the Cape, which do not have nuclear missions and would then clearly fly on non-nuclear launch azimuths.  The fact the ocean is effectively a gigantic SLBM missile field is likely to work against Navy’s PGS ambitions.

The Defense Department is assessing conventional prompt global strike capabilities as part of a review of its "long-range strike options," according to a State Department fact sheet released yesterday. The findings will be "reflected" in the Pentagon’s budget request for fiscal 2012.

Actually, the DoD request is rolled into something called the President’s Budget and is traditionally released right after the State of the Union address.  But why is the State Department releasing this information?  Because of arms control issues?

A new U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control deal, now awaiting ratification by legislatures in both nations, "allows the United States to deploy CPGS systems, and does not in any way limit or constrain research, development, testing, and evaluation of such concepts and systems, which offer the prospect of striking any target in the world in less than an hour," according to the State Department (see GSN, Dec. 13).

OK.  Maybe State released this because there’s no arms control issues.

“Intercontinental ballistic missiles with a traditional trajectory would be accountable under the treaty; however, the treaty’s limits would accommodate any plans the United States might pursue during the life of this treaty to deploy conventional warheads on ballistic missiles,” the fact sheet states. “Further, the United States made clear during the New START negotiations that we would not consider non-nuclear, long-range systems, which do not otherwise meet the definitions of the New START treaty (such as boost-glide systems that do not fly a ballistic trajectory), to be accountable under the treaty” (U.S. State Department release, Dec. 13).

I wonder what the definition of a “traditional trajectory” is.  Polar?

This is a part of the Administration’s overall effort to assuage those who are concerned about New START treaty restrictions.

  1. […] between $142 billion and $1,000 billion (also known as $1 trillion; your results should not vary), spending $1 billion over five years on Prompt Global Strike sounds like a bargain. […]

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