Ever since the early days of the Cold War, extended nuclear deterrence has been one of the most important but challenging aspects of American strategy. During the past 25 years, however, many of the extended deterrence dilemmas that preoccupied U.S. policymakers in the past ceased to be a major source of concern.
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Over the last fifteen years, the Department of Defense spent more than $24 billion buying a mix of capabilities to defeat guided missile threats to U.S. and partner naval forces and land installations. Despite DoD's urgency, these investments have not resulted in air and missile defenses with sufficient capacity to counter large salvos of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and other precision-guided munitions (PGMs) that can now be launched by America's enemies.
The First Nuclear Age was characterized by the Cold War era bipolar international system and a corresponding bipolar nuclear competition between the United States and the Soviet Union. While a few other states, such as Great Britain and France, also possessed nuclear arms, their arsenals were very small compared to those of the two superpowers.
Each year, the Department of Defense (DoD) submits Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) to Congress detailing the status, plans, and funding requirements for more than 80 major acquisition programs. The most recent available SARs, submitted in December 2014, project funding and quantities for major acquisition programs extending more than 30 years into the future. The SARs project that these programs will need $337 billion over the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP), spanning FY 2016 to FY 2020, and an additional $453 billion in FY 2021 and beyond.
CSBA's historical analysis of air-to-air combat, detailed in the 2015 report titled Trends in Air-to-Air Combat: Implications for Future Air Superiority by Dr. John Stillion, assessed how advances in sensor, weapons, and communication technologies have changed air combat.
The electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) is one of the most critical operational domains in modern warfare, but its use in military operations is rapidly changing. In the same way smartphones and the Internet are redefining how the world shares, shops, learns, and works, the development and fielding of advanced sensors and networking technologies will enable some militaries to gain significant new advantages over competitors that fail to keep pace.