According to unnamed U.S. officials, the United States is conducting research and development on a new ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) in response to Russian violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. “The idea here is we need to send a message to the Russians that they will pay a military price for violation of this treaty,” said one U.S. official. Russia has long been suspected of developing an intermediate-range GLCM, known as the SSC-8, and reportedly began deployments of the missile this year.
In the National Defense Authorization Act recently passed by the House, Congress instructs the Pentagon to begin research and development on a new intermediate-range, road-mobile, ground-launched missile. Secretary of Defense of James Mattis clarified the intent of this research, saying “Our effort is to bring Russia back into compliance. It is not to walk away from the treaty.”