- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Inside the Ring
Prompt global strike
The U.S. military is moving ahead with a new strategy to develop precision-guided, conventionally armed missiles that can hit targets anywhere in the world within minutes.
John J. Young Jr., undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said he thinks plans for so-called “prompt-global-strike” missiles should be assessed carefully because of costs and infrastructure.
Mr. Young approved a revised strategy on prompt-global-strike weapons earlier this year after Congress blocked plans to use conventionally armed Trident submarine-launched missiles armed with conventional warheads.
“I expect and assume that the strategy, negotiated between my office and the vice chairman’s office, is being executed,” Mr. Young told Inside the Ring.
Some form of the precision-guided, non-nuclear strategic missile program is expected to continue under the new Obama administration because of President-elect Barack Obama’s call for eliminating nuclear weapons. The Obama campaign report “Blueprint for Change,” stated that the Obama administration will keep nuclear weapons “as long as nuclear weapons exist” but “will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and pursue it.”
Earlier, Mr. Young was asked if prompt global strike died after the Trident conversion was blocked. “My experience in the Pentagon is ideas never die; they just get new labels or different things like that,” he told defense reporters on Nov. 20, noting that cost questions need to be assessed carefully.
For example, Mr. Young questioned the utility of a plan to use funds slated for demobilizing Trident missiles to instead convert them into conventional missiles.
“The complaint was there’s not enough accuracy. So what, shoot two of them because they’re going to de-mil[itarize] them anyway? But when you start escalating up that ladder and buying long-range delivery systems that cost tens, approaching a hundred million dollars for one weapon, those are national decisions that need to be taken carefully, and you have to convince yourself you have all the elements to support that,” Mr. Young said.
New conventional-strike weapons need good command authority, chain of command and intelligence for effective use, he said.
“I think there are a lot of people who think we ought to have this in our arsenal,” he said. “I’m not sure I want to argue all day with them. But I do think it is a very expensive capability that I’m not sure all the rest of the elements of our structure are prepared to support.”
The U.S. Strategic Command would be in charge of the conventional-strike missiles that the military says are needed to attack missile-launch sites, weapons-of-mass destruction facilities, or even terrorists within one hour.
Strategic Command spokesman Navy Lt. Charlie Drey said the command is working with Mr. Young’s office on “the path forward to provide an operational system as soon as possible while maintaining the ability to increase future capability.”
“The vision is for a spiral development toward a family of prompt-global-strike systems which expands payload capacity, weapons effects and flight profile as new technologies are fielded,” he said.
Congress appropriated $82 million for the precision-guided prompt-global-strike program in fiscal 2009. Two systems being looked at include a new Air Force “conventional-strike missile” that could be ready by 2014, and an Army “advanced hypersonic weapon” - a high-speed, missile-launched vehicle that could hit targets anywhere on Earth within 35 minutes.
About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
- Inside the Ring: Pentagon reevaluating Obama's pivot to Asia
- Inside the Ring: All eyes on Moscow's military moves in Ukraine
- Inside the Ring: China readies for 'short, sharp' war with Japan
- Inside the Ring: U.S., China in war of words over South China Sea air zone
- Inside the Ring: China military on the rails
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Paul takes veiled shot at Cruz, says GOP must focus on growth
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- VIDEO: Emily Miller on Fox Business "The Independents" special "The Gun Show"
- Obama engages in Ukraine diplomacy from Fla. resort as Russia digs in
- Stolen European passports on Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777
- Gates: Obama strategy won't stop Putin
- CPAC 2014 straw poll results
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again