A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report says countries with large militaries, nonstate groups and other adversaries could use land-attack cruise missiles (LACM) to launch attacks against the U.S. and lowest-cost architectures composed of fighter jets, surface-to-air missiles and radars for homeland cruise missile defense would cost approximately $75 billion to $180 billion over two decades to purchase and operate.
CBO said in a report published Tuesday that deploying additional regional or local defenses to protect Hawaii, Alaska and U.S. territories would contribute to that cost. The report also cited the importance of positive identification of targets.
“Because many civilian aircraft fly in U.S. airspace, targets would have to be positively identified as threats before defenses could engage them,” the report reads. “However, very little time is available for defenses to act against LACMs, so any delay in achieving positive identification would significantly challenge the effectiveness of defenses, and even advanced battle management systems might be hard-pressed to respond in time.”
CBO said policymakers should look at the likelihood of an attack by adversaries using alternatives to LACMs when assessing whether and how much to invest in a wide-area cruise missile defense system.