WASHINGTON ― The Trump administration’s review of America’s missile defense capabilities is now expected to be released in May.
The Missile Defense Review, a strategy document designed to take a holistic view of America’s missile defense posture, was expected to be released in February. But finally, it appears the document is nearing completion.
Pentagon spokesman Tom Crosson, in response to an inquiry by Defense News, said that the review is “currently in development” and that “we expect to release the review sometime next month.” The review is expected to be unclassified.
The review is part of a series of big-picture strategic documents that started with the December release of the National Security Strategy, followed by the January release of the National Defense Strategy, and continued with February’s Nuclear Posture Review.
Notably, the review was originally positioned as a “ballistic missile defense review,” but the term ballistic has since been dropped by the Trump administration ― something Tom Karako, a missile defense expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said was a wise choice.
“The fact that the administration has dropped ‘ballistic’ from the review’s title indicates the document will probably employ a wider lens,” Karako wrote in a CSIS analysis Friday. “This could include a robust effort to better defend against Russian and Chinese cruise missiles, other maneuvering endo-atmospheric threats like hypersonic boost-glide vehicles (HGVs), and advanced short-range ballistic missiles.”
Although no one has spelled out the direction of the review, there have been some hints given about where the administration intends to take missile defense. The FY19 budget request for the Missile Defense Agency, for instance, increased by $2 billion from previous funding levels, with an express focus on defeating a missile threat from North Korea. And Michael Griffin, the Pentagon’s new head of research and engineering, has expressed support for investing in airborne missile defense capabilities.
Jen Judson in Washington contributed to this report.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.