The defense authorization act signed into law in December 2016 contained an important provision mandating a review of missile defeat policy, strategy, and capability, to be completed and submitted to Congress in January 2018. This Missile Defeat Review (MDR) appears likely to serve as a successor to both the Department of Defense’s 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review (BMDR) and other publications by the Joint Staff. The statutory requirement comes none too soon, given the need for a more comprehensive approach to countering missile threats.
The mandate also comes as the strategic environment is witnessing a kind of missile renaissance, one characterized by increased global supply and demand for a spectrum of high-precision, high-velocity, unmanned standoff delivery systems. This complex spectrum includes guided rockets, artillery, and mortars (RAM); anti-ship missiles; supersonic and long-range subsonic cruise missiles; guided and maneuvering reentry vehicles; depressed trajectory ballistic missiles; hypersonic boost glide vehicles; and anti-satellite weapons—and active means to counter them.