Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Monday, June 19, 2006

"New US strategy in danger of reviving old dangers," BASIC, 19 June 2006.

The British American Security Information Council has today published a new report, US 'Prompt Global Strike' Capability: A New Destabilising Sub-State Deterrent in the Making? warning of the possible dangers ahead if a new US strategy is permitted to go ahead.

"The 'Prompt Global Strike' (PGS) concept is an entirely predictable extension of current US 'pre-emptive' strategic thinking. Indeed, its conceptual development from a purely strategic to a viable tactical weapon mirrors the subtle way the Bush doctrine of 'pre-emption' has increasingly become one of 'prevention'", says BASIC Director and co-author, Dr Ian Davis.

The Pentagon is seeking to field a fully operational PGS capability by 2020. It is premised on the Pentagon's perception of the need for the United States to be able to convey a "new kind of deterrence" in order to meet contemporary security challenges, such as terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.

The PGS concept, introduced in the Defense Department's 2001 Nuclear Posture Review and further refined in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, is a $500 million project that would see up to 100 of the US Navy's 300 Sea-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) re-armed with conventional warheads. These weapons would give the US administration the ability to attack targets thousands of miles away with precision-guided, conventional high explosives within 60 minutes of a Presidential order to strike.

In the short term, an interim project would see 24 of the US Navy's Trident II missiles modified to carry non-nuclear, conventional warheads. Each missile would be able to carry four conventional warheads and initially two would be deployed per submarine. This would 'satisfy the immediate desire of US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) for a near-term strike option'.

BASIC recommends that Congress eliminate the $127 million earmarked in the fiscal year 2007 budget for PGS and that NATO allies voice opposition to it, both in public and in private discussions with US officials.

"If implemented, PGS will provide the United States with the capability to strike virtually anywhere on the face of the earth within 60 minutes," says Dr Davis, and may result in serious global security implications, including high risk of mistaken nuclear first strike and a new arms race in ballistic missiles."

The report is available as html or as a pdf file.

For further comment or interviews please contact:
Dr Ian Davis +44 (0)207 324 4685; mobile: 07887 782 389
Nigel Chamberlain +44 (0)1768 898641

BASIC UK: The Grayston Centre, 2nd Floor, 28 Charles Square London N1 6HT, +44-(0)20-7324 4680

BASIC US: 110 Maryland Ave, NE, Suite 205, Washington, DC 20002, +1 202 546 8055
Recommend this Post

Sphere: Related Content