The Future of the U.S. Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Force

The Future of the U.S. Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Force

The Future of the U.S. Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Force

The Future of the U.S. Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Force

Excerpt

The most recent Nuclear Posture Review calls upon the Department of Defense, and therefore the U.S. Air Force, to initiate studies of the future intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) force with “the objective of defining a cost-effective approach that supports continued reductions in U.S. nuclear weapons, while promoting stable deterrence.” In support of this work, the Air Force Assistant Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration (AF/A10) and Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) asked the RAND Corporation to examine future ICBM design, basing, and employment options for an ICBM feet designed to meet evolving U.S. operational requirements. In this report, we present the analysis and findings of RAND’s fiscal year (FY) 2011 study intended to lay the groundwork for the upcoming Analysis of Alternatives (AoA). It is the job of this AoA to evaluate alternatives based on technical feasibility, operational effectiveness, and cost. The potential development of a new ICBM poses important questions that demand comprehensive answers requiring objective assessment and rigorous analysis. It is important to start of on the right foot when thinking about this complex and vitally important issue. Considering the longevity of Minuteman, the decisions we make today will likely shape a central component of the U.S. strategic force for decades to come.

In this study, we examine ICBMs in the context of current and future national security challenges. We then identify criteria we believe to be important in carrying out an ICBM AoA.

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