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Pentagon works toward bridging air, missile defense capability gaps

By
Jake Thomas
General John Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said this week that he'd like to have overhead sensors that see everything in order to monitor the plethora of current threats -- which he sees as a challenge for everything we have. Pool Photo by Anna Moneymaker/UPI
General John Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said this week that he'd like to have "overhead sensors that see everything" in order to monitor the plethora of current threats -- which he sees as a "challenge for everything we have." Pool Photo by Anna Moneymaker/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 13 (UPI) -- A Pentagon panel that oversees new capabilities and acquisitions will begin a process to identify capability gaps in the U.S. military's integrated air-and-missile defenses, Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten told attendees earlier this week during the Space and Missile Defense Symposium.

Hyten said the Joint Requirements Oversight Council will look into four "force supporting" areas that include information advantage, joint command-and-control, fires and contested logistics, reported Defense News.

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With an eye on identifying gaps, the review of current requirements and capabilities is intended to hasten the acquisition process for these areas.

The review will seek to align the military's defensive and offensive elements, Hyten explained, according to Breaking Defense, and falls into the Pentagon's new approach of "integrated deterrence," the Pentagon said in April in a press release.

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"It's about deterring ballistic missile threats, hypersonic threats, cruise missile threats, maneuvering RVs, every threat that's out there," he said. "We have to be able to somehow detect so we can deter, and detect so we can defeat it."

Hyten has pushed for Joint Requirements Oversight Council reviews like this one in his role as vice-chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, reports Breaking Defense.

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He's referred to the four strategic directives as "functional battles" defined in the Joint All Domain Command and Control that are part of the Pentagon's new Joint Warfighting Concept.

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The review will run through the fall and will also be integrated into the Pentagon's new Missile Defense Review, part of the National Defense Strategy, a document that assesses the U.S's missile-defense posture.

In the coming months, the council will also hold an industry day to explain the Joint Warfighting Concept and new requirements.

During the Symposium in Huntsville, Ala., Hyten laid out a vision for the country's missile defense that he said is obtainable but is slowed by a "bureaucratic challenge more than anything else," according to a Wednesday Department of Defense press release.

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"I would like to have overhead sensors that see everything, characterize everything that goes on on this planet, from a missile perspective, all the time, everywhere," he said.

"That's the one capability I would like to have because you have to be able to see it to do anything about it. And that's a challenge for hypersonics and cruise missiles; that's a challenge for short range; that's a challenge for ballistics; that's a challenge for everything that we have," Hyten said.

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Currently, the Pentagon is testing CubeStats, nanosatellites weighing less than three pounds, that can detect radio communications and detect enemy attacks.

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