U.S. to develop ‘state-of-the-art’ missile defense against N.Korea

New military budget announcement includes cyber-warfare capabilities

U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System - Target Launch and Interceptor Launch (2010)

U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System – Target Launch and Interceptor Launch (2010)

The White House on Friday announced it would make the United States military “strong again” through a new budget that will improve missile defense capabilities against North Korea.

“We will … develop a state-of-the-art missile defense system to protect against missile-based attacks from states like Iran and North Korea,” an announcement published shortly after President Trump’s inauguration said on Friday.

The announcement came just 20 days after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in his New Year’s speech that Pyongyang was close to reaching the final preparation stages for test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile.

President Trump responded to Kim’s speech on January 3 by declaring on Twitter that a North Korean ICBM “won’t happen”.

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He gave no indication for how the U.S. might prevent North Korea testing ICBM technology at the time and his Friday inauguration speech did not refer to Pyongyang in any way.

The U.S. does not currently have a reliable system to prevent North Korea’s emerging road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) technology from – once testing and deployment is complete – delivering nuclear warheads to the U.S. mainland.

Friday’s White House announcement, which did not include details about technical specifications or potential cost for the missile defense system, also said the new military budget would need to improve American cyber-warfare capabilities.

“We will make it a priority to develop defensive and offensive cyber capabilities at our U.S. Cyber Command, and recruit the best and brightest Americans to serve in this crucial area,” the statement said, also without providing specifics.

Cyber-warfare is an area which Trump’s new Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director, Mike Pompeo, recently warned of improving North Korean capabilities.

“Countries thought to be unsophisticated, such as North Korea, have overcome what appear to be low technological barriers of entry to engage in offensive cyber operations,” he said during a Senate confirmation hearing in January.

The public statements of key administrative appointees have to date all underscored the increasing nature of threat that North Korea poses the U.S.

Together, Rex Tillerson (State), James Mattis (Defense), Mike Flynn (National Security Advisor), and Nikki R. Haley (United Nations) have provided clues as to how North Korea policy under Trump may emerge.

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Common positions have included a need to enhance sanctions, increase pressure on China to implement them, keep military options on the table, as well as keep military options on the table.

Although Trump once said he’d be happy to meet Kim Jong Un over a burger, engagement with Pyongyang currently seems unlikely emerge as a priority area for Washington.

(Source : nknews.org)

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