September 23, 2019

Garrison & Lann: U.S. Needs Greater Parity with Russia On Hypersonic Nuclear Weapons

By Jacqueline Isaacs

Russia is developing hypersonic nuclear weapons, and according to Bishop Garrison, our president and co-founder, and Preston Lann, research assistant, the United States may not be prepared to defend against them. Garrison and Lann recently explained the situation in an article for RealClearDefense.

In the article, Garrison and Lann outline the status of Russia’s hypersonic nuclear weapons program. They also explain that the U.S.’s own program is significantly behind both Russia’s and China’s technological developments in hypersonic weapons. They say,

The majority of DoD's funding for hypersonic weapons development currently goes toward precision strike or offensive weapons, as opposed to missile defense programs. Next year’s DoD budget for overall hypersonic investments is approximately $2.6 billion, with defensive developments making up only about six percent ($157.4 million) of that investment budget. Moreover, the budgetary figure for defensive developments will drop by almost a quarter in the coming years, from $157.4 million next year to $122 million by 2024.

The U.S. has opted for cheaper offensive weapons development, which puts us at risk as Russia and China continue to outpace our hypersonic nuclear weapons program. Meanwhile, the defensive side of the nuclear program is not yet prepared to protect the country against such weapons if they were to be used against us. The authors explain, saying,

The realities of adversary advances in offensive hypersonic weapons systems, combined with the fact that hypersonic offensive capabilities are generally easier and cheaper to develop than defensive capabilities, has naturally directed the DoD’s budget towards offensive capabilities. But the potential long-term peril of this course of action was further demonstrated on August 2 of this year, when the U.S. withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The INF Treaty banned U.S. and Russian forces from placing land-based missiles in Europe with a range between 310 and 3,400 miles to reduce the ability to launch short notice nuclear strikes. Many fear withdrawing from the INF treaty may not only signal the beginning of a new arms race between the U.S. and Russia but also potentially with China. Furthermore, this could potentially lead the U.S. to withdraw from or allow to lapse the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which is set to expire in 2021.

In conclusion, Garrison and Lann believe “greater parity in development of both offensive and defensive capabilities will help ensure the U.S. not only maintains or exceeds the pace of offensive capabilities with adversaries but also allows the U.S. to develop defensive capabilities that keep pace with adversarial advances in offensive hypersonic missile capabilities.”

Read the entire article here: Russia's Hypersonic Nukes Exploit U.S. Vulnerability

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