The NY Times has an interesting article that details a new class of weapons capable of reaching any corner of the earth from the United States in under an hour and with such accuracy and force that they would greatly diminish America’s reliance on its nuclear arsenal.
Yet even now, concerns about the technology are so strong that the Obama administration has acceded to a demand by Russia that the United States decommission one nuclear missile for every one of these conventional weapons fielded by the Pentagon. That provision, the White House said, is buried deep inside the New Start treaty that Mr. Obama and President Dmitri A. Medvedev signed in Prague two weeks ago.
Called Prompt Global Strike, the new weapon is designed to carry out tasks like picking off Osama bin Laden in a cave, if the right one could be found; taking out a North Korean missile while it is being rolled to the launch pad; or destroying an Iranian nuclear site — all without crossing the nuclear threshold. In theory, the weapon will hurl a conventional warhead of enormous weight at high speed and with pinpoint accuracy, generating the localized destructive power of a nuclear warhead.
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Prompt Global Strike (PGS) is an initiative of the United States military to develop a system capable of a conventional weapon strike anywhere in the world as quickly as a nuclear attack can currently be carried with intercontinental ballistic missiles. As stated by General James Cartwright, “Today, unless you want to go nuclear, it’s measured in days, maybe weeks” until the military can launch an attack with regular forces.
The aim of the system is to provide rapid precision strike capability from the United States mainland to any region in the world in case of a conflict or emergency. The PGS system will be designed to complement Forward Deployed Forces, Air Expeditionary Forces (which can deploy within 48 hours) and Carrier battle groups (which can respond within 96 hours) with a system that can deliver a strike anywhere in the world within 1 to 2 hours of the emergency or conflict beginning.