Tong Zhao is an associate in the Carnegie Endowment's Nuclear Policy Program, based at the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing. His research focuses on strategic security issues including nuclear arms control, nonproliferation, missile defense, strategic stability, and China’s security and foreign policy. Previously he was a fellow at the Project on Managing the Atom and at the International Security Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. He received his doctorate in science, technology, and international affairs from Georgia Institute of Technology.
Hypersonic missile technology, if it ever matures, will enable quick strikes over long distances. But critics say that hypersonics are destabilizing—for example, they could be used to attack nuclear installations or could be mistaken for nuclear-armed missiles.
The author argues that minimizing the harm associated with hypersonic missiles requires that hypersonics be included in nuclear arms control discussions and in arrangements limiting or reducing strategic arms.
The author argues that banning research and development programs for hypersonic missiles will be difficult. Limited transparency measures might be within reach, but even these mechanisms will require persistent effort and engagement from the major players.