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Defending the Nest: Updating Joint Doctrine to Mitigate the Threat of Ballistic and Cruise Missiles to Air Bases

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Technical Report

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Naval War College Newport United States

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The increasing proliferation of long-range, highly accurate, ballistic and cruise missile technology is threatening to end the era of sanctuary for U.S. bases around the world. Because potential adversaries continue to advance their missile technology, the U.S. must improve missile defenses at forward U.S. air bases. Investment will follow joint doctrine, but the current categorization of countermeasures into active and passive defense is insufficient. Doctrine must be updated to group countermeasures by their role prior to, during, and following missile-delivered warheads impacting an installation. Moreover, the characteristics of defenses and nature of the threat dictates that the U.S. cannot mitigate risk by using a single type of countermeasure. Instead, investment should utilize a portfolio approach to missile defense that integrates three types of defenses to prevent, protect, and recover damage caused by attacking warheads. Additional research using the proposed joint doctrine framework is needed to determine the best mix of countermeasures for future investment.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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