Known as the missile defense review, the document that Trump will unveil marks the first official update to American missile defense doctrine in nine years. It comes as North Korea and Iran make advances in ballistic missile production, and as Russia and China press forward with sophisticated cruise missiles, short-range ballistic missiles and hypersonic glide vehicles that potentially threaten the security of U.S. forces and allies in Europe and Asia.
The Trump administration’s response is to call for urgent new investments in missile-defense technologies across the board, many of which the Pentagon pursued during the Cold War but abandoned after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the 1990s and 2000s, the Pentagon focused on building interceptors to down missiles from rogue states. Now it is again broadening its ambitions, both in terms of technology and mission-set. Whether the administration secures enough money to tackle such lofty ambitions in missile defense remains unclear.
The Pentagon wants to put a constellation of sensors above the Earth that can track missiles as they launch, and is recommending a study of weapons that can shoot down missiles from space.