President Donald Trump will visit the Pentagon on Thursday to announce the results of the Defense Department's long-anticipated review of its ability to protect the homeland and forces overseas from missile attacks, senior administration officials said Wednesday. "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". "In the past, the United States lacked a comprehensive strategy for missile defence that extended beyond ballistic missiles". Under our plan, that will change.
As part of the U.S.'s move into space defense, Trump announced on Thursday that he is including a space-based missile defense layer in the Pentagon's upcoming budget to more quickly detect enemy missiles when they are launched. The review is a broad look at USA missile defense capabilities and is expected to be included in the administration's fiscal 2020 budget request to Congress.
"Space-basing may increase the overall likelihood of successfully intercepting offensive missiles, reduce the number of US defensive interceptors required to do so, and potentially destroy offensive missiles over the attacker's territory rather than the targeted state", the report said.
Recognising the potential concerns surrounding any perceived weaponisation of space, the strategy pushes for studies.
The official stressed that the viability of space-based missile defense weaponry was only being studied and no decisions had been made.
"What the missile defense review responds to is an environment which our potential adversaries have been rapidly developing and fielding, a much more expanded range of new advance offensive missiles", the senior administration told reporters.
Both China and Russian Federation, the president noted, are fielding more missiles, both current ballistic missiles, and newer, more lethal cruise and hypersonic missiles.
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China has also alarmed the Pentagon with advances in super-fast hypersonic technology that could allow Beijing to field missiles that are far harder to detect.
"In some areas, it already leads the world", the report said.
China is also seeking the technology, with the US Defense Intelligence Agency publishing a report Tuesday saying China's military "is developing a range of technologies to counter US and other countries' ballistic missile defense systems", including maneuverable re-entry vehicles, decoys and hypersonic glide vehicles.
"Developments in hypersonic propulsion will revolutionize warfare by providing the ability to strike targets more quickly, at greater distances, and with greater firepower", Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told Congress a year ago.
Pentagon officials contend that USA missiles defenses are too few to be able to counter a first-strike on the U.S. homeland by a major nuclear power, like Russian Federation or China. It may also test whether Aegis missile defense systems on American ships can down the sort of intercontinental ballistic missile Pyongyang could launch against the United States.
"Space is key to the next step of missile defense", said the official.
A new strategy says a layer of sensors in space must quickly detect, track and ultimately defeat incoming missiles. The Russian leader argued at the time that his campaign to modernize Moscow's military might came in response to world powers ignoring Russian interests, arguing, "You will listen to us now". While the Trump administration's strategy continues that focus, it adds a new objective as well: the defense of US forces and allies from regional missile threats.