The Pentagon is eyeing space-based laser weapons technology as the ultimate solution to defeat a missile threat in its boost phase of flight, but the Defense Department is not yet at a point where it has determined the best possible solution.
“Waiting until an adversary is in midcourse [phase of flight] is giving the adversary a free pass to launch,” Michael Griffin, the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, told reporters during a media roundtable at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium.
Advocating for getting after defeating missile threats in their earliest phase of flight, he said: “Until we’ve studied the problem, I don’t know what the best long-term solution is. … The best solution may be with directed energy.
“It’s too soon to pick a winner,” Griffin said.
But the Missile Defense Agency and the Pentagon are already thinking about how to accomplish a boost-phase missile defeat, which has become critical now that Congress — as part of its fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act signed into law Aug. 14 — is requiring the Defense Department to study and formulate an initial plan to develop a boost-phase missile defense capability next year.