Mutually Assured Destruction
The United States must prioritize the development of a comprehensive missile defense system as global tension with hostile countries like Russia, China, North Korea, and even Iran continue to rise. President Ronald Reagan’s Cold War-era vision for missile defense was never fully realized due to opposition, but in 2023, with adversaries investing in advanced nuclear capabilities, protecting American citizens through robust missile defense is paramount.
The concept of mutually assured destruction hinges on the fear of US nuclear retaliation to deter adversaries from launching their own nuclear strikes is no longer a reliable deterrent. All four countries have amplified their aggressive rhetoric and are expanding their nuclear programs, demonstrating that the US nuclear arsenal is no longer an effective dissuasion.
While capable of detecting threats from North Korea and Iran, current US defense systems fall short regarding those posed by Russia and China. To remedy this, the US and its allies must invest in a modern, adaptable, and integrated missile defense system that enables early threat detection and interception at every stage. This includes leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance sensor capabilities and accelerate information analysis.
The Need for a Space-Based Network
Furthermore, the US must deploy networked, space-based sensors and radar satellites to monitor all potential threats, including hypersonic cruise missiles comprehensively. Investing in projects like the Glide Phase Interceptor and Glide Breaker is vital, which demonstrate promising potential in countering hypersonic missiles during their glide phase.
China poses the most significant threat to the US, with Pentagon analysis predicting a staggering 1,500 warheads by 2035 if China’s nuclear expansion continues unchecked. China already has more ICBM launchers than the US and is developing a land-attack cruise missile that can be launched from a disguised commercial shipping container.
Russia, with approximately 400 ICBMs carrying over 1,189 warheads and an estimated stockpile of 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons, poses another substantial challenge, far exceeding the threat of rogue state attacks. In addition, North Korea’s missile program continues to evolve, unveiling numerous new ICBMs and anti-ship missiles in recent years, with over 90 launches in 2022 alone. Iran, too, is bolstering its nuclear capabilities, successfully launching its first military satellite in April 2020, signaling Tehran’s ongoing efforts to develop an ICBM capable of reaching US soil.
Past policy decisions have left the current missile defense posture ill-equipped to tackle the next generation of nuclear threats. Investing in a missile defense system that ensures early threat detection and interception at every stage is imperative; without it, the US remains exposed to enemy attacks.
The US and its allies must collaborate to safeguard their sovereignty and citizens from potential attacks. This collaboration necessitates political and financial commitment, but with the right investment, we can achieve a world free from the threat of nuclear devastation at the hands of tyrants and rogue actors.
Additional annual funding of at least $5 billion for missile defense is essential to address growing threats. Modernizing missile defense systems to counter emerging threats such as hypersonic cruise missiles and expediting research and testing for projects like the Glide Phase Interceptor and Glide Breaker are vital steps.
Investing in the Future
Investments in artificial intelligence, machine learning systems, space-based sensors, and radar satellites are also critical for processing the vast amounts of data generated by advanced sensors and tracking relevant threats.
Missile defense investment is not only crucial for citizen protection but also cost-effective and de-escalatory. The successful U.S.-Israel Iron Dome is an example of a layered missile defense system, intercepting over 2,500 rockets and mortars since its 2011 deployment.
In conclusion, the threat of nuclear war with hostile countries is real and intensifying. The US’s current nuclear arsenal is no longer a sufficient deterrent against these adversaries’ potential use of nuclear weapons. Therefore, comprehensive missile defense must be prioritized as a critical capability for safeguarding American citizens. We must invest in modernizing and scaling up our missile defense systems, incorporating artificial intelligence, machine learning systems, space-based sensors, and radar satellites into our strategies. With strong political and financial determination, we can protect our sovereignty and citizens, working towards a world free from the specter of absolute destruction.
** Click here to learn more about US Space-based weapons.
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