Hypersonic Threats Need an Offense-Defense Mix

Photo Credit: Russian MOD

Next week, people from across the missile defense community will gather at an annual symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, to consider how to adapt U.S. missile defense efforts to the challenge of renewed competition with Russia and China. A centerpiece of their discussions will be the emergence of advanced hypersonic missile threats and what to do about them.

Over the past few years, the Pentagon has prioritized the development of offensive hypersonic strike weapons, with billions of dollars in contracts already awarded for each of the major military services to acquire hypersonic strike missiles of their own.

The counter-hypersonic mission, however, received surprisingly short shrift in recent defense budgets, with progress on hypersonic defense thus far piecemeal and halting. Some leading military officials charged with procuring hypersonic strike missiles have said that defending against hypersonic missiles is too hard, so we shouldn’t even try.

That short-sighted approach is at odds with the vision of newly confirmed Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, who stated to Congress that he will advocate hypersonic missile defense, to include the development of new sensors, interceptors, and advanced command-and-control systems.

Read the full Defense News article.