While North Korea weapons tests tend to be analyzed for specific accomplishments, this focus distracts from looking at the trend. All over the world, countries with formerly primitive military establishments have adopted similar development paths towards advanced, “semi-ballistic” missiles that are much harder to intercept. This is accompanied by dissemination of even more maneuverable hypersonic technology.
The origin of the idea was the Pershing II missile, followed by the Russian Iskander. With flat trajectories and maneuverability in flight, they may render current, and possibly future antimissile systems ineffective. While Hypersonic Strategies, Part 6 describes a solution, political considerations may intervene.
The susceptibility of U.S. defense infrastructure stems from:
- Successful use of high technology in asymmetric warfare, which lead to larger “asset lumps” that cannot be subdivided. Example: CAOC.
- Emphasis on power projection, with similar result, such as reliance on aircraft carriers, which are very large lumps.
- Centralization of command within lightly fortified installations, partly from tradition, and partly from the convenience of asset lumping.
The above is very useful in asymmetric warfare, but which now result in concentrated, extremely high value targets soon to be vulnerable to third world weaponry. Survivability can no longer be assumed.
Some innovations offer much greater survivability:
- Distributed radars, constructed out of small, redundant mesh elements. This was made possible by the development of extremely high band gap semiconductors.
- Unjammable mesh communications, (see DARPA ADC program) which would make possible a distributed command hierarchy.
- Ditto for distributed logistics, which is already being implemented.
The object: reduce the numbers of assets requiring defense in the ways described in Hypersonic Strategies, Part 6.