Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues
Congressional Research Service Washington United States
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Conventional prompt global strike CPGS weapons would allow the United States to strike targets anywhere on Earth in as little as an hour. This capability may bolster U.S. efforts to deter and defeat adversaries by allowing the United States to attack high-value targets or fleeting targets at the start of or during a conflict. Congress has generally supported the PGS mission, but it has restricted funding and suggested some changes in funding for specific programs. CPGS weapons would not substitute for nuclear weapons, but would supplement U.S. conventional capabilities. They would provide a niche capability, with a small number of weapons directed against select, critical targets. Some analysts, however, have raised concerns about the possibility that U.S. adversaries might misinterpret the launch of a missile with conventional warheads and conclude that the missiles carry nuclear weapons. The U.S. Department of Defense DOD is considering a number of systems that might provide the United States with long-range strike capabilities. The Air Force and Navy have both considered deploying conventional warheads on their long-range ballistic missiles. The Navy sought to deploy conventional warheads on a small number of Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles. In FY2008, Congress rejected the requested funding for this program, but the Navy has continued to consider the possibility of deploying intermediate-range technologies for the prompt strike mission. The Air Force and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA are developing a hypersonic glide delivery vehicle that could deploy on a modified Peacekeeper land-based ballistic missilea system known as the conventional strike missile CSM. In FY2008, Congress created a single, combined fund to support research and development for the CPGS mission. Congress appropriated 65.4 million for this program in FY2014, 95.6 million in FY2015, and 88.7 million in FY2016.