Bombers aren’t Quick Enough

Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright is a big fan of the prompt global strike concept. Speaking with reporters Thursday in Washington, D.C., Cartwright said he believes that if the United States were to convert some of its ICBMs or SLBMs to carry conventional warheads, that would provide a capability with a greater deterrent effect. That’s because a PGS system would have a much lower threshold of use than a nuclear weapon. It would also reduce the needed inventory of nukes, said Cartwright. He said the PGS system’s warhead would be in a hypersonic body that would not exit the atmosphere, giving observers a clear indication of what it was—to prevent other nations from misidentifying it as a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile. Bombers are “pretty quick, but not quick enough,” said Cartwright of alternatives to PGS. “There are places on the face of the Earth where bombers can’t reach,” he said.