A Need for Transparency:

Peter C.W. Flory, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security, assured the Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee that the Pentagon’s plan to use conventional-tipped ballistic missiles in its new prompt global strike package won’t set off nuclear alarm bells in Moscow—or Beijing. Flory told the panel that efforts are under way to improve international communications to avoid misunderstandings. The Air Force has been looking at using ICBMs in a conventional role, but defense officials now are leaning toward using the newer Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile. STRATCOM Commander Cartwright explained to the subcommittee that the inert warhead being fielded on the Trident is a first step and has been the subject of open forums. He said, “It’s important to have transparency in this capability.” Cartwright added that the capability is not a new idea, noting that, since 1968, the US has launched 433 of these conventional warheads on missiles. Using the existing communications process, he said the US was able to keep other nations in the loop.