As we move to a new world of near-peer competition in regional strategic deterrence – between China, Russia, and the U.S. – with the end fast approaching of an important arms control treaty – the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty – we are forced to look at a new way of thinking on deterrence, that shifts from a singular focus on strategic Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) to a more fluid and proportionate response to include type deterrence that is all-encompassing from offense to defense, from space to under the oceans, and from regional to strategic levels. This needed shift is a result of the proliferation, development, and operation of cost effective technical revolutionary cross-domain missile platforms leveraging regional weapon capabilities, UAVs, cruise missiles, hypersonic vehicles, and space. A larger strategic role of these regional capabilities cannot be denied as these cross-domain mobile platforms are not limited by intercontinental distances to strike the U.S. homeland and are actively being pursued and demonstrated by both near peers.
Russian actions (hybrid warfare, anti-access/area denial [A2/AD] bubble, and escalate to de-escalate nuclear strategy) in eastern Europe to destabilize the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliances and Chinese actions (A2/AD bubble and development and deployment of missiles to threaten U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups and forward deployed troops in the Pacific) in the South China Sea to seek to establish regional hegemony and upset the international world order status quo. It is in everyone’s best interest to have stability to create prosperity during this time when new methods, technology, and complex threats are developed and deployed to upend the status quo and U.S. alliances in NATO and the Pacific. Peace and stability drives prosperity for all.
With unmatched development and proliferating capacity of regional strategic capabilities, which goes against the fundamental key components of MAD that currently maintains the strategic balance, we as a nation have to modernize to ensure continued stability. We now have to compete to have stability through revolutionary defenses and integrating those defenses with offenses to best increase deterrence efficiently against these capabilities in a rapidly proliferating world and on the brink of an arms race in cruise missile, hypersonics, and long-distance fire capabilities.
Below is what near-peer Russia and China have deployed and are developing for cruise missiles and hypersonic capabilities.
Russian cruise missiles and platforms
Chinese cruise missiles and platforms
Russian and Chinese hypersonic capabilities
We are now well beyond a linear world of limited ballistic missile defense, both policy and capability, and instead are now in a transition period of fusing all of missile defense to blurring the distinctions of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, UAVs, and hypersonic missiles from each other and from the regional to strategic levels.
To begin to address this new regional strategic challenge we have to implement with resources and policy on two absolutely critical components: Space and command and control (C2). Space as the most efficient for persistent sensing and the overall command and control with artificial intelligence at speeds of light to fuse all the tracking/discrimination/targeting of the best sensors with the best offensive and defensive effectors. An overall global C2 architecture that links into regions has to be developed, and an architecture that includes integration with our allies’ capabilities. Finally, we have to revolutionize and reverse the cost curve of interceptors vs missiles as was demonstrated yesterday with the electronic shoot down in combat of an Iranian drone.
These steps must be taken to fully integrate air and missile defense systems with our regional offensive systems so that the United States can best deter challenges, and if deterrence fails, to fight and win in whatever conflict necessary. There is no better place in the world for the United States to develop, demonstrate, and operationally deploy and set the precedent of this fully regional and strategic, integrated, layered, cross-domain, composite, and offense-defense system than Guam to ensure deterrence and stability against a near peer in a brave new world.
MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.
MDAA is the only organization in existence whose primary mission is to educate the American public about missile defense issues and to recruit, organize, and mobilize proponents to advocate for the critical need of missile defense. We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.