Most major U.S. defense programs have been based on both revolution and evolution. Historically, the Pentagon has invested in an initial leap-ahead capability, one designed to provide the military with a qualitative edge. But from their early years, virtually all major acquisition programs include plans to add newer capabilities as they become available. Perhaps the best example of this combination of revolution and evolution is the Standard Missile family. Since its deployment in the late 1960s, the Standard Missile has become the mainstay of the Navy’s demonstrated capability to defeat air and missile threats. Each new installation of the Standard Missile has provided improved capabilities and an expansion in the number and complexity of the missions that it can perform. I have written more on this remarkable family of missiles here.
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