The hypersonic missile debate is a difficult one to navigate. This event showcases prominent thought leaders in the U.S. policy discourse surrounding hypersonic missiles and will feature a recent paper from the Center for Space Policy & Strategy that attempts to map out the debate. A central argument from the paper is that experts’ views on hypersonic weapons are inextricably linked with their preferred strategic aims, military objectives, vis-à-vis Russia and China. A point that panelists will grapple with is whether experts’ technological views or strategic preferences are driving the debate.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021, 12:30 PM – 4:00 PM EST

Discussion of The Hypersonic Missile Debate Paper 

Sam Wilson, CSPS Policy Analyst, The Aerospace Corportion


  • Thomas Mahnken, Center for Strategic Budgetary Assessments

Panel 1: Divergent Strategic Aims, Divergent Technological Views

Moderator: Russell Rumbaugh, Systems Director, The Aerospace Corporation


  • Rebeccah Heinrichs, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute
  • Jeffrey Lewis, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Panel 2: Unentangling the Strategic & Technological

Moderator: Robin Dickey, CSPS Policy Analyst, The Aerospace Corporation


  • Jill Hruby, Former Director of Sandia National Laboratories
  • Dean Wilkening, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab
  • Cameron Tracy, Union for Concerned Scientists