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The administration of President Donald Trump, worried that the United States is falling behind China and Russia in the development of hypersonic missiles, is making major new investments in this technology. Yet, as R. Jeffrey Smith notes in the New York Times, developments in technology are outpacing consideration of their implications. So, what are the potential benefits for the United States of hypersonic missiles? Specifically, will they help offset equivalent Chinese and Russian capabilities? And what are the risks of their acquisition and potential employment, including of escalation to a nuclear war? Join us for a discussion of these questions featuring Smith, Dean Wilkening, Amy Woolf, and James Acton. 

R. Jeffrey Smith

R. Jeffrey Smith is managing editor for national security at the Center for Public Integrity and winner of a 2006 Pulitzer Prize.

Dean Wilkening

Dean Wilkening is a physicist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.

Amy F. Woolf

Amy F. Woolf is a specialist in nuclear weapons policy at the Congressional Research Service and has written extensively on U.S. policy toward hypersonic weapons. 

James Acton

James Acton holds the Jessica T. Mathews Chair and is co-director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is the author of Silver Bullet? Asking the Right questions about Conventional Prompt Global Strike.