The Center for Global Security Research (CGSR) is sponsoring a Colloquium entitled "Conventional Prompt Global Strike: Critical Capability or a Missile in Search of a Mission?" Following the Colloquium, there will be a question and answer session. This is open to the Laboratory.
The United States has spent 10 years and a billion dollars on a weapon that has no defined mission. And in the meantime, American research and development efforts have prompted Russia and China to pursue similar weapons of their own that could be deployed in as little as a decade, starting an arms race that could place the continental United States at risk. In theory, these three powers could agree to avoid such competition. In practice, the prospects for mutual restraint seem extremely dim.
The United States should not risk escalating a conflict with a nuclear-armed power unless it has no other option. But if it doesn't hurry up and find a policy to guide its rapidly advancing technology, it may simply glide into catastrophe.
James M. Acton is a senior associate in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment. A physicist by training, Acton specializes in deterrence, disarmament, nonproliferation, and nuclear energy. His current research focuses on the implications of next-generation conventional weapons for both the nuclear disarmament process and international security more broadly.
Mr. James M. Acton of Carnegie Endowment delivers the lecture "Conventional Prompt Global Strike: Critical Capability or a Missile in Search of a Mission" at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Center for Global Security Research.