The Challenge of Offense–Defense Integration for Missile Defeat in the U.S. Military

Alaska National Guard members of Bravo Crew, 49th Missile Defense Battalion operate the ground-based midcourse defense portion of the Ballistic Missile Defense System. Photo credit: Jack Carlson

Thorough implementation of offense-defense integration for countering missile threats would touch almost every aspect of the U.S. military, including policy, doctrine, organization, training, materiel, and personnel. While desirable, complete integration down to the tactical level will be technically and operationally difficult to achieve. Even where possible, its realization will be neither rapid nor easy.

The most difficult challenge in integrating offenses and defenses relates to battle management, command, control, and communications (BMC3) systems. Unsurprisingly, this is a very complex set of activities. Other complicating factors include:

  • The growing diversity of missile threats
  • Challenges in threat detection and tracking these threats
  • Conversion of raw data into actionable information
  • Stove-piped system development, with incompatible protocols for the production
  • use, distribution, and receipt of information
  • Avoidance of friendly fire
  • Human involvement in the fire-control decision process
  • The fog of war

Read the full report by Brian R. Green, Center for Strategic & International Studies, Senior Associate, Missile Defense Project

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