Trump's missile defense objective is to counter threats from Russia and China as well as Iran and North Korea

Bill Gertz:
President Trump announced a major shift in U.S. defense strategy on Thursday, ordering the Pentagon to rapidly expand current missile defenses and build new interceptors, space sensors, and advanced technology to neutralize foreign missiles at multiple stages of attack.

The president announced during a speech at the Pentagon that missile defenses, currently limited to countering North Korean long-range missiles and future Iranian missiles, will no longer be constrained to rogue states.

American missile defense systems will be expanded and new capabilities added that for the first time will prepare to counter much larger and increasingly advanced missile threats from Russia and China.

"Our goal is simple: To be sure we can detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States, anywhere, any time, and any place," Trump said.

Both China and Russia, the president noted, are fielding more missiles, both current ballistic missiles, and newer, more lethal cruise and hypersonic missiles. Hypersonic missiles travel faster than five times the speed of sound and maneuver to evade missile defenses.

The United States also is pursuing hypersonic missiles for strike operations after decades of shunning the weaponization of the high-speed weapons.

"The U.S. will now adjust its posture to defend against any missile strikes, including hypersonic and cruise missiles," Trump said. "We are committed to establishing a missile defense program that can shield every city in the United States, and we will never negotiate away our right to do this. … We will ensure that enemy missiles find no sanctuary on earth or in the skies above."

New U.S. missile defenses will include improved current systems, additional sensors and intelligence satellites, and innovative technologies and systems that will allow attacks on missiles before launch, through cyberattacks or conventional air and drone strikes and laser strikes.
High energy laser weapons could provide a cost-effective system to shoot down missiles in the early phase or boost phase of their flight.

"DoD is developing a low-power laser demonstrator to evaluate the technologies necessary for mounting a laser on an unmanned airborne platform to track and destroy missiles in their boost-phase," the report said.
I have been a long time proponent of boost-phase missile defense because it strikes the missiles when they are most vulnerable and before they can deploy decoys.  I think the high energy laser weapons will also be more effective in dealing with hypersonic cruise missiles.   I think the US should also consider using space-based weapons for dealing with these threats.  A space-based system could detect the launch of the hypersonic weapons and attack it with high energy lasers.  The hypersonic weapons are inherently unstable and would probably be vulnerable to such weapons.


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