Hypersonic weapons could dramatically change the balance of conventional military power between the United States and its major competitors, Russia, and China. Russia is investing heavily in hypersonic systems and is on the verge of deploying a variety of strategic and theater systems. The U.S. started behind its great power competitors but is racing to catch up. Hypersonics will enable the U.S. military to rapidly respond to the initiation of hostilities, strike high-value targets from much longer distances, and offset Russian advantages in dual capable theater missiles, integrated air and missile defenses, heavy armor, and electronic warfare. Deploying its own set of hypersonic weapons may be the second most important military modernization effort the Department of Defense (DoD) undertakes over the next two decades, coming just behind the modernization of the strategic nuclear deterrent. I have written more on the intensifying U.S.-Russian competition in hypersonics here.
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