U.S. President Donald Trump is due to unveil a revamped U.S. missile defence strategy on Thursday that looks at ways to boost America’s security, including by possibly deploying a new layer of space-based sensors to detect and track enemy missiles.
The Missile Defence Review will also recommends studying experimental technologies, including prospects for space-based weaponry that might be able to shoot down enemy missiles — a throwback to Ronald Reagan’s so-called “Star Wars” initiative in the 1980s.
“Space, I think, is the key to the next step of missile defence,” a senior Trump administration official told reporters ahead of the document’s release on Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“A space-based layer of sensors is something we are looking at to help get early warning and tracking and discrimination of missiles when they are launched.”
The official stressed that the viability of space-based missile defence weaponry was only being studied and no decisions had been made.
The investments come on top of previously announced U.S. plans to increase the number of ground-based interceptors over the next several years, hiking the number positioned at Fort Greely, Alaska to 64 from 44.
U.S. military officials have long stressed that America’s missile defences are primarily designed to counter attacks from countries with more limited arsenals, like North Korea, which U.S. intelligence officials believe is still advancing its nuclear programme despite a halt to missile launches last year.