Inside the Ring: James Syring, missile defense chief, seeks laser funding to counter China, Russia

The gutting of the U.S. military by the Obama administration has allowed for Russia and China to out-gun America. We’re in the phase right now where America is losing its supremacy. Budget cuts have seriously degraded any chance of modernization and the little funding that is allowed goes towards programs such as this are not sufficient. You can’t make mistakes like this, that are so grave to the national security of America, by accident.

 

The U.S. is moving to counter Chinese and Russian hypersonic strike vehicles using lasers, the director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency revealed last week.

But Vice Adm. James Syring told a House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces hearing that he lacks the funding to counter hypersonic missile threats, but that money has been requested in the defense authorization bill to deal with the threat.

“I’ve asked for $23 million to begin a low-power laser demonstrator this year to demonstrate the feasibility by 2021,” the three-star admiral said.

Critics say the Missile Defense Agency has been remiss by not beginning work earlier in countering future Chinese and Russia high-speed maneuvering strike vehicles. The relatively low funding and long lead time for a demonstration of a laser against a hypersonic strike vehicle are not likely to address the growing threat of hypersonic missiles.

The ultra-high-speed maneuvering delivery vehicles are being built by China and Russia for use with nuclear and conventional missiles. China’s glider was tested most recently in November and is called the DF-ZF. Russia tested a hypersonic vehicle in February 2015.

The Pentagon also is developing hypersonic gliders and scramjet-powered vehicles, but the program has been hampered by sharp defense budget cuts under the Obama administration.

China has conducted six tests of its hypersonic glide vehicle, an indication the program is a high priority for Beijing’s weapons designers. Russia also is building hypersonic weapons.

Rep. Mike Rogers, Alabama Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, said he is concerned about the hypersonic threat.

“I’m troubled that Russia and China continue to outpace the U.S. in development of these prompt global strike capabilities, complain about our tepid development programs, and the Obama administration’s ideological reductions to the Missile Defense Agency budget have denied that agency the resources to do anything to develop defenses,” Mr. Rogers told Inside the Ring.

Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command that oversees both nuclear forces and missile defenses, said hypersonic weapons are among a growing number of new missile and strategic weapons threats.

“Nuclear and non-nuclear nations are prepared to employ cyber, counter-space, and asymmetric capabilities as options for achieving their objectives during crisis and conflict, and new technologies such as hypersonic glide vehicles are being developed, complicating our sensing and defensive approaches,” the admiral told a conference on nuclear deterrence in July.

Full article: Inside the Ring: James Syring, missile defense chief, seeks laser funding to counter China, Russia (The Washington Times)

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