No Missile Warning Gap?

According to Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute, the US military “faces no near-term gap in its missile-warning capabilities,” despite the fact USAF has just launched the last of the Defense Support Program satellites. Some policymakers are concerned, writes Thompson in a new issue brief, that there is the potential for an “imminent gap” should a DSP fail given the system’s successor is “years behind schedule.” The Pentagon has found that there are no timely alternatives to the Space Based Infrared System satellite program, so USAF must “press ahead.” However, Thompson argues that, “barring a series of very improbable developments,” the long-lived DSP satellites should ensure “no near-term gap.” He believes the Pentagon should continue SBIRS “with all of its originally planned performance features intact,” instead of cutting back to reduce cost and meet schedules.