Conventional Prompt Global Strike: Strategic Asset or Unusable Liability?
By M. Elaine Bunn and Vincent A. Manzo
Strategic Forum 263
Feb. 1, 2011 —
- A Conventional Prompt Global
Strike (CPGS) capability would
be a valuable strategic asset
for some fleeting, denied, and
difficult-to-reach targets. It would
fill a gap in U.S. conventional
strike capability in some plausible
high-risk scenarios, contribute to
a more versatile and credible U.S.
strategic posture, and potentially
enhance deterrence across a diverse
spectrum of threats.
- A small number of CPGS systems
would not significantly affect the
size of the U.S. deployed nuclear
arsenal or substitute for the ability
of nuclear weapons to hold
large sets of hard, deeply buried,
or mobile targets at risk.
- A key concern is the risk that
either Russia or China might
launch its nuclear forces due to
uncertainty about the target of an
ambiguous U.S. CPGS strike. Assuming
functioning early warning
systems, the Conventional Trident
Modification (CTM) mitigates this
risk better than the conventional
strike missile because Russian and
Chinese officials would be better
able to assess quickly whether a
CTM would land on their territory.
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