We’re Short of Missiles – It’s Time to Think

We’re Short of Missiles – It’s Time to Think


The war in Ukraine made plain several well-known challenges with precision weapons: they are expensive, rely on complicated supply chains, and take time to build. With Russia’s invasion stretching into its second year and military leaders warning of a looming war with China, analysts, Congress, and defense officials are all arguing for dramatically increased spending on the sophisticated long-range missiles needed for war in the Indo-Pacific. This is a failure of both analysis and imagination by the world’s largest and most expensive defense establishment. Decades of funding and policy decisions have led to a “right-sized” defense industry that can produce precision-guided missiles only at a peacetime replacement rate. Efforts to accumulate more PGMs could draw on the excellent recommendations made by recent studies: multi-year purchases, better management of existing stocks, and, yes, increased spending. Yet the fundamental limits remain: rocket fuel, explosives, microelectronics, and skilled technicians are …

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