“Men or Missiles for Close Air Support”
(See D.C. Fuquea, pp. 26-29, November 1996 Proceedings)
Lieutenant Commander Marion H. Klingler, U.S. Navy—Major Fuquea’s suggestion to provide close air support using cruise missiles launched from squadrons of truck-mounted launchers has merit. In the 1980s, the U.S. Air Force deployed nuclear-tipped ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) in Europe using these types of launchers. Under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the United States and the then- Soviet Union—a treaty that remains in force today—however, nuclear GLCMs and their associated launchers were outlawed and destroyed. As a result, the United States would be hard-pressed to develop a conventional GLCM and launcher system that do not run afoul of the INF Treaty. Even if we could convince ourselves that such a system was treaty-compliant, we still would have to get the Russians to agree. Based upon my two-and-one-half years of doing INF Treaty inspections and working closely with Russian arms control inspectors, I believe that this would be a hard sell.