Conventional Warheads For Long-Range Ballistic Missiles: Background and Issues for Congress [Updated September 6, 2005] [open pdf - 126KB]
"The United States has deployed long-range ballistic missiles as a part of its strategic offensive nuclear forces for more than 40 years. In recent years, analysts both inside and outside the government have suggested that the United States deploy conventional warheads on these missiles. This would provide the United States with the ability to strike promptly anywhere in the world, regardless of the presence of overseas bases or nearby naval forces...Land-based, long-range ballistic missiles can bring unique capabilities to the PGS mission. But long-range land-based ballistic missiles are only uniquely capable if the United States must attack promptly, or within hours, of the start of an unanticipated conflict. In any other circumstance, the United States is likely to have the time to move its forces into the region. Hence, when deciding to fund the development of conventional warheads for long-range land-based missiles, Congress may review whether the benefits brought by these systems outweigh the risks of misunderstandings arising from their use."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33067