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Dear Members and Friends,

This morning North Korea claims to have successfully launched a ballistic missile from a submarine beneath waters off the coast of its mainland. That missile has the exact characteristics of the Russian SS-N-6 first generation submarine ballistic missile that has a range of 1,500 miles, carrying a reentry payload of 1,400 pounds with a circular error probability of a little over a half mile. The SS-N-6 is a single stage liquid fuel ballistic missile using a hypergolic combination of unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) as fuel, and nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) as oxidizer. 1,800 of these missiles were built by the Soviet Union with nuclear warheads and put in their Yankee Class submarines deploying in the early 1970s through 1990.

This is a remarkable technical breakthrough for North Korea enabling a demonstration of a standoff, survivable and mobile submerged ballistic missile strike platform capability of ranges up to 1,500 miles. With North Korea’s current nuclear inventory exceeding two dozen weapons and with an existing, but not verifiable, ability to miniaturize nuclear warheads, this submerged SS-N-6 capability coupled with a single nuclear or multiple warheads provides North Korea with an underwater survivable mobile strategic nuclear platform to project power and to deter power used against them. North Korea, with this submerged nuclear strategic capability inside of their own waters, could strike and threaten all of the territory of South Korea as well as Japan and all of its islands. Taking this submerged nuclear ballistic missile capability into international waters, North Korea would have the capability to strike and threaten Guam, Hawaii, Alaska and the Western States of the United States.

North Korean Submerged Ballistic Missile Test

North Korea significantly enhances its strategic power with this capability. The missile defense systems of the United States, Korea and Japan deployed in the immediate region will have to adjust in providing persistent sensors that will have 360 degree field of view, such as the capa

bility JLENS aerostats have as well as large defended area land based persistent missile defense intercept systems such as THAAD and Aegis Ashore to be deployed in Korea, Japan, Hawaii and Guam.

Today, there are not any THAAD or Aegis Ashore systems deployed in Japan or Korea. Hawaii has an existing Aegis Ashore site being used for testing that could be made operational capable of defending all of Hawaii from this new North Korean threat. Hawaii is already moving towards acquiring additional long range persistent radar capability. Guam has an operational THAAD battery deployed, but would need 360 degree sensors as well as additional lower layer point defenses such as Patriot. The West Coast of the United States and Alaska have no existing missile defense protection deployed or capability against a submerged SS-N-6 ballistic missile threat. Current THAAD units stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas could be deployed for a defensive capability to Alaska and the Western States from this threat.

In addition to Missile Defense, defending against this new North Korean threat will have to take into account offensive preemptive first strike, left of launch capabilities and anti-submarine tactics/warfare by the United States and its Allies of the Republic of Korea and Japan.

The North Korean Strategic demonstration of power projection this morning is a game changer.

We as a Nation and as true bilateral partners with the Republic of Korea and Japan, whose national security we assure, cannot ignore this threat. Our Nation’s Executive Office and our Nation’s Military must show leadership in resolve to defend against and confront this North Korean strategic momentum shifting capability.

We simply cannot allow Kim Jung-un to place millions upon millions of our nations and our allies’ lives at risk.

“There are no extraordinary men, just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with” – Fleet Admiral William Frederick Halsey, Jr. 

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Mission Statement

MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.

MDAA is the only organization in existence whose primary mission is to educate the American public about missile defense issues and to recruit, organize, and mobilize proponents to advocate for the critical need of missile defense. We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.