Cartwright calls ballistic missile defense the “boutique” area of STRATCOM’s responsibilities. Nonetheless, the STRATCOM boss recognizes he has the lead when it comes to coordinating and developing US missile defense operations. Cartwright says he is keeping tabs on the work being done by the Missile Defense Agency, which he says has faced “challenges,” particularly with the ground-based intercept element. However, he believes that missile defense efforts—overall—have been going well recently.
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.