The head of U.S. Strategic Command, Adm. Charles Richard, has said his No. 1 need is a robust missile warning capability.
Missile warning is critical “so I know what to do and how to posture and dispose my forces, and it is due to these rapidly expanding and evolving threats: hypersonic weapons, cruise missiles potentially with intercontinental range, unmanned aerial systems, proliferation of shorter-range ballistic missiles and several novel weapon systems,” he said Aug. 11 at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium.
With [hypersonic] weapons at an adversary’s disposal, the U.S. faces decreased warning timelines, difficulties in assigning attribution, and an “increased threat to our traditional space and missile defense forces,” he explained. Yet, “ordinary” weapons like a “garden-variety cruise missile on a quiet submarine” are an underappreciated threat and also pose serious implications for strategic deterrence, he added.
“We must be able to detect and track cruise missiles and hypersonic attacks on the homeland, launch onward, attribute, defend and respond appropriately,” Richard said. “Early warning is essential — or conclude we’re not going to get early warning and re-posture to account for that.”
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