Home / Robert Farley / So Which Precision Guided Munition Are You? The Answer May Surprise.

So Which Precision Guided Munition Are You? The Answer May Surprise.


This week’s Diplomat column examines the implications of the diffusion of precision strike:

The concern apparent in Watts’ monograph is the increasing lethality of Chinese precision-strike systems. Conventional Chinese weapons can now, or will in the short future be able to, destroy or disable the most sophisticated and advanced U.S. systems with conventional payloads.  The premise is fragility; Chinese precision systems can threaten the ability of the USN and USAF to adequately respond to the PLAN and the PLAAF by destroying or disabling critical elements of the U.S. strategic military system, thus inducing system failure.

But what makes the system fragile?  Arguments differ; on the one hand, losing a carrier might be too much for political and military authorities to bear, thus leading to a strategic decision not to intervene. Precision threat uncovers strategic vulnerability that undermines the capacity of the system to function. On the other hand, precision strike (on a target such as Guam) might undercut the actual operational capacity of the U.S. military to fight a campaign. And so it’s worth investigating how enemy precision-strike platforms actually threaten to undercut American military power.


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