The Russian invasion of Ukraine demonstrates the relevance of air defenses in modern high-end combat. Indeed, the United States should take warning, and recognize the danger cruise missiles, whether traditional or hypersonic, pose to its positions in the Indo-Pacific and the U.S. homeland. Ballistic missiles dominate headlines, but cruise missiles are a more salient threat. Homeland cruise missile defenses should be funded in the upcoming defense budget. They are not. In turn, the Pentagon and military should link Guam’s missile defenses to homeland defense.
Russia’s test of the ICBM Sarmat missile on April 20th turned heads in the West. However, the test was overblown. The Sarmat has been in development for years and is behind schedule. In 2014, when the program was announced, it was slated for deployment in 2020. In turn, the Sarmat was unveiled in 2018 as one of Russia’s six new “strategic superweapons,” but only completed a confirmed launch test on April 20th.
Allegedly, the Sarmat can fly over the South Pole, evading any American continental missile defenses, and deploy a hypersonic glide vehicle to scream past remaining point defense systems. Nevertheless, it remains entirely unclear when the Sarmat will deploy in major numbers. Moreover, like all nuclear weapons designed to strike enemy targets of value – that is the U.S. homeland – the logic of nuclear confrontation at the highest level still applies. The United States will maintain second-strike capability no matter how terrifying the Sarmat may be, even if building a new nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine fleet hollows out the rest of the Navy’s fleet.
Read the full article at RealClear Defense.