The US military’s in-depth look at non-nuclear options circa 2020 for striking high-value targets quickly virtually anywhere on the globe is being briefed up the Pentagon’s leadership chain, Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, commander of US Strategic Command, told defense reporters on March 4. “It should come out to the joint requirements oversight council this summer,” said Chilton of the prompt global strike analysis of alternatives. “I look forward to seeing the results of that.” The AOA examined four classes of systems: CONUS land-based, forward-deployed mobile, sea-based, and air-breathing with a high-velocity delivery mechanism. The Pentagon wanted to convert some Navy Trident submarine-based ballistic missiles to carrying conventional warheads in the near term to serve in this role. But Congress did not allow the conversion to go forward, only some technology maturation work. Key PGS system attributes, Chilton said are “high accuracy” and a reentry vehicle that can perform “large cross-range maneuvering” so that the warhead or weapons payload can reach the target without overflying nations “that you are not interested in getting excited.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.