This is an excerpt from the introduction of my new book, War At The Speed Of Light:

Potential US adversaries, like China and Russia, are developing and deploying supersonic (i.e., faster than the speed of sound) and hypersonic missiles (i.e., five or more times faster than the speed of sound) as a means to destroy US aircraft, drones, missiles, aircraft carriers, and space-based assets, such as GPS and communication satellites. To counter this threat, the United States is developing and deploying laser weapons. However, the development of laser weapons is in its infancy. For example, in December 2014, the United States Navy installed the first-ever laser weapon on the USS Ponce. In field-testing, the United States Navy reported that the laser system worked perfectly against low-end asymmetric threats, such as small unmanned aerial vehicles. Following the field tests, the Navy authorized the commander of the Ponce to use the system as a defensive weapon. However, this is just the beginning. The US Navy’s strategy is to develop higher energy laser systems with the capability to destroy an adversary’s “carrier killer” missiles, as well as other asymmetric threats such as hypersonic missiles. In January 2018, the Navy contracted Lockheed Martin to deliver two HELIOS (High Energy Laser with Integrated Optical-dazzler and Surveillance) systems by 2021. The Navy intends to deploy one on the USS Preble Arleigh Burke destroyer. The other will be land-based at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico for testing. In the 2020s, the US military plans to usher in the widespread use of laser weapons on land, sea, air, and space. It is reasonable to assume that these new lasers will continue the US military thrust to develop and deploy laser weapon systems capable of destroying an adversary’s supersonic, hypersonic, and intercontinental ballistic missiles, drone swarms, and space assets.

In addition to lasers, the US military is pursuing a full spectrum of directed energy weapons, including microwave, EMP, and cyberspace weapons.