In response to continued threats from North Korea, the Pentagon is beefing up its missile defence shield, planning to add 14 missile interceptors to the 30 already stationed in Alaska and California, Secretary of defence Chuck Hagel announced Friday.The role of the interceptors is to scan for incoming threats, and shoot down long-range missiles in-flight before they hit their intended target. Patriot missile batteries are deployed to South Korea to mitigate any potential threats there as well.
When asked of major threats in a press briefing Friday, a Pentagon official said that they were “watching North Korea in particular.” He went on to confirm that North Korean missiles “have the range to reach the United States.”
From The New York Times:
Officials acknowledged that the ground-based interceptors based in Alaska and California have shown dubious capabilities in tests, and said the additional interceptors would be deployed only when they had proven their capability. “We have confidence in our system,” Mr. Hagel said.
In a speech Tuesday, James Miller, defence Undersecretary for Policy also spoke of the threat. From the Marine Corps Times:
“Our concern about Pyongyang’s potential ICBM capability is compounded by the regime’s focus on developing nuclear weapons. North Korea’s third nuclear test last month is obviously a serious concern for all nations,” he said.
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