My friend Sharon Weinberger at the Danger Room blog thinks the air force’s plan to introduce a conventional strike missile (CSM) may be protested by Russia and opposed by Congress.
I’m not so sure.
It’s true the navy’s conventional Trident D-5 proposal got shot down by Congress because the conventional missile would be loaded on a sub that simultaneously carried nukes.
You would forgive the Russians if this caused them some confusion.
However, with the air force’s concept for a Minotaur III-class CSM, the issue is very different. The trajectory of a CSM would look nothing an ICBM shot. The missiles would be launched from bases completely separated from the nuke fields in the northern tier.
Russia can’t object and be taken seriously.
After all, what to stop the Russians from believing that World War III has started each time a B-2 stealth bomber takes off from Whiteman AFB? The B-2s carry nukes and — if the advertising brochure is correct — can sneak into any country at will to launch a first strike.
Russia doesn’t object to the B-2s because they know they would be laughed at. The same logic is likely to work with the CSM concept.