The U.S. Defense Department is weighing development of a new, non-nuclear cruise missile to hit “important” targets from long distances, War is Boring reports.
The Pentagon last week requested information on the potential for a relatively affordable conventional cruise missile with a price tag under $2 million and a maximum flight distance greater than 3,400 miles, the news publication said in a Wednesday article. The “standoff” weapon’s range would enable it to be fired outside the reach of arms held by possible antagonists.
The proposal is the result of a Defense Science Board assessment of options for the U.S. military to attain a technological edge over its adversaries around 2030. The Pentagon-convened panel of outside experts advises Defense leaders on technological issues.
“The system would be designed to complement strategic prompt global strike capability,” the October document says, referring to a developmental U.S. capacity to conduct a non-nuclear strike against any location in the world in one hour or less.
“Because [a longer-range cruise missile] could be produced at far lower costs, this would allow adequate numbers of weapons to engage multiple targets simultaneously [and] saturate enemy countermeasures,” the report states. “It would not be as precise as some more costly systems, but instead trades a higher probability of detection and somewhat larger vulnerability for cost.”
The Pentagon advisory panel warned about possible international repercussions, though, saying that “the policy implications of deploying an intercontinental, precision cruise missile with a capacity to carry relatively heavy payloads are significant.”
The potential for cruise missiles to carry nuclear as well as conventional payloads may factor into global responses to the proposed longer-range weapon, War is Boring said.
What We're Following See More »
The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House this morning by a 375-34 vote. The bill, which heads to the Senate next week for final consideration, would fund the military to the tune of $618.7 billion, "about $3.2 billion more than the president requested for fiscal 2017. ... The White House has issued a veto threat on both the House and Senate-passed versions of the bill, but has not yet said if it will sign the compromise bill released by the conference committee this week."
"Republicans have elected Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) the next chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden defeated Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Joe Barton (R-TX), the former committee chairman, in the race for the gavel" to succeed Michgan's Fred Upton.
"Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are working on legislation that would limit deportations" under President-elect Donald Trump. Leading the effort are Judiciary Committee members Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is also expected to sign on.
Donald Trump has selected retired Marine Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis as his secretary of defense, according to The Washington Post. Mattis retired from active duty just four years ago, so Congress will have "to pass new legislation to bypass a federal law that states secretaries of defense must not have been on active duty in the previous seven years." The official announcement is likely to come next week.