12 April, 2006
The Global Strike mission continues to occupy the minds of American defense planners. For those who haven't heard about it, the main idea is that the US should be able to hit high-priority mobile targets fast, before they have a chance to move. The goal is that within an hour of learning the location of a target anywhere in the world it should be possible to drop explosives on it. Unless you have something stationed in orbit, this requires something like an intercontinental ballistic missile. Until now, American ICBMs have had nuclear warheads, but the may be too much of a bang--and too dangerous politically. So the Navy is working on modifying the Trident D5 to carry a conventional warhead. This raises the issue of launching a missile that might be nuclear or conventional--and leaving the target to decide if it will wait for confirmation before assuming the worst. The Air Force (never one to be left out) is proposing a new missile. Meanwhile, the argument rages on over whether the mission makes sense.