In Defense of Missile Defense
This month North Korea proved it has advanced its long-range missile capability by once again successfully launching, for the second consecutive time, a three-stage ballistic missile, putting a satellite into orbit- a satellite with reportedly twice the weight as the last one. The most recent Pentagon report on North Korea’s military capabilities warns, “North Korea is committed to developing a long-range, nuclear-armed missile that is capable of posing a direct threat to the United States.” It also affirms previous assessments that the North Korean regime is setting out to improve the range of its missiles. It states “If successfully designed and developed, the KN08 likely would be capable of reaching much of the continental United States, assuming the missiles displayed are generally representative of missiles that will be fielded.”
The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system is currently the only missile defense system in place that is designed to intercept incoming long-range ballistic missiles headed toward the U.S. homeland. It was first deployed in 2004 after President George W. Bush withdrew the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with the Russian Federation. It consists of large defensive missile interceptors with kill vehicles that detach from the interceptor in the exo-atmosphere and collide with an incoming missile’s warhead. This technology is called “hit-to-kill.” But when President Obama entered the White House, despite continued affirmation in the system’s necessity and mission from the most senior military officers, including every Northern Command Commander, he cut the approximately $2 billion (annually) GMD program in half.