By Dan Dupont / July 11, 2012 at 4:06 PM

The Congressional Research Service has issued a report on "Conventional Prompt Global Strike and Long-Range Ballistic Missiles," obtained first by Secrecy News.

Some highlights:

Some have argued that the possible crisis instabilities associated with long-range ballistic missiles should not eliminate them from consideration for the PGS mission because the United States can work with Russia, China, and other nations to reduce the risks; also because no other weapons, at least in the short term, provide the United States with the ability to attack promptly anywhere on he globe at the start of an unexpected conflict. Yet the question of whether the United States should accept the risks associated with the potential for misunderstandings and crisis instabilities can be viewed with a broader perspective. How likely is the United States to face the need to attack quickly at great distances at the start of an unexpected conflict? How much would the United States lose if it had to wait a few hours or days to move its forces into the region (or to await the intelligence reports and precise targeting data needed for an attack)?

If the risks of waiting for bombers or sea-based weapons to arrive in the theater are high, then long-range ballistic missiles may be the preferred response, even with the risk that other nations might misunderstand U.S. intentions. On the other hand, if the risks of waiting for other forces to arrive in theater are deemed to be manageable, and the risks of potential misunderstandings and crisis instabilities associated with the launch of long-range ballistic missiles are thought to be high, then the United States can consider a broader range of alternative weapons systems to meet the needs of the PGS mission.