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The Security Index Occasional Paper Series Came Out With The New Report «Evolution And Prospects For The Development Of The Concept Of Prompt Global Strike» By Artem Kvartalnov

October 4, 2021

MOSCOW, OCTOBER 4, 2021. PIR PRESS. The Security Index Occasional Paper Series came out with the new report «Evolution and prospects for the development of the concept of prompt global strike» by Artem Kvartalnov.

This paper presents a comprehensive analysis of the development of the concept of prompt global strike (PGS) from the 2000s to the present. In the first chapter, the author examines the political foundations of the PGS concept, paying special attention to the history of discussions on the problems of a rapid global strike within the United States itself. The second chapter summarizes the steps of various American administrations in the field of military-technical realization of the potential of PGS. In the third chapter, the author gives an assessment of the international political consequences of the PGS concept, and in the fourth – assesses the reaction of Russia and China to the PGS concept.

Key findings:

  • The goal of prompt global strike systems can be defined as the ability to deliver a high-precision conventional strike on a target anywhere in the world within an hour after making the appropriate decision.
  • Although the concept of non-nuclear PGS is largely based on the developments of the second half of the Cold War, it acquired its modern outlines only in the 1990s and 2000s.
  • If initially the potential of PGS was created rather with the aim of deterring “rogue states”, then over time the main task of PGS became countering the Chinese potential for conducting an asymmetric war.
  • From the very beginning, the goals and objectives of PGS were outlined as vaguely as possible, as a result of which there were ample opportunities for a wide variety of interpretations of the intentions of the American military.
  • The main sources of threats to strategic stability from PGS are the speed, maneuverability, trajectory and global reach of the relevant weapons systems, as well as the likelihood of their use in a pre-nuclear conflict with Russia or China.
  • Russia and China consider PGS as a project aimed at building the potential for the destruction of Russian and Chinese strategic nuclear forces without the use of nuclear weapons. On the one hand, the analysis of American documents and expert-analytical materials does not allow us to confirm this thesis. On the other hand, the United States has not taken any steps to dispel these concerns.

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