In the HASC Strategic Forces Subcommittee: FY24 Strategic Forces Posture hearing, Ohio Representative Mike Turner, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and member of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, questioned Air Force General Glen D. VanHerck, Commander of United States Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command on what we would have to do in order to be able to do integrated missile defense for the United States against the missile threat of China and Russia.
“General VanHerck, we’ve obviously had a relatively robust conversation nationwide about our capabilities to see and understand threats and warnings to the United States and North America. We are also in the process of reinvesting, because some of these systems are very old and of course some of these systems, now with China having chosen to test a Hypersonic weapon that orbits the earth that looks like it’s something that could remain in orbit and be a space-to-ground weapon and for which all indications are of their intentions to perhaps make this a nuclear weapon, we’re going to have to look at how do we see better and how do we get greater fidelity, how do we look at areas where we might have blind spots. But the next step we’re going to have to look at, is as China increases its nuclear weapons capabilities and Russia increases its nuclear weapons capability … China is building them at such a pace that it’s clearly not just their territorial integrity that they’re concerned about, they’re building them at a pace where we can even see in non-classified areas their new ICBM areas. If we’re going to go beyond deterrence we’re going to have to add missile defense. If we’re going to have to add missile defense we’re going to have to add it in a robust fashion where we look at China and Russia as perhaps perpetrators. To do so we’re going to have to upgrade what we look at for radars and sensing for North America. Could you speak for a minute about what our current system is, what we’re currently planning on doing for upgrading, and what would that leap look like that we would have to do in order to be able to do integrated missile defense for the United States.”
Rep. Mike Turner, Strategic Forces Subcommittee Hearing: FY24 Strategic Forces Posture, March 8, 2023
“First to be clear, our missile defense today does not, from a policy perspective, defend against China or Russia. First, I’m concerned and very challenged for domain awareness. I’ll start with hypersonics – if you can’t see hypersonics it’s hard to do continuity of government and it’s certainly hard to to protect your nuclear posture, so, therefore I would say that would be destabilizing or erode our strategic stability from a standpoint of not being able to see them. From the way forward, I would ask for two things. For radars, over the horizon radars. We need those as soon as possible. 10 years to field over the horizon radars does not make sense. Then the question becomes what do you do with the data and information from those over the horizon radars that needs to feed an integrated air and missile defense system that ultimately feeds some type of a in-game effector. That could be non-kinetic or kinetic either one. This problem is much larger than Radars by the way it is also the PLEO U.S space forces fielding to give us domain awareness for hypersonics and other missile systems.”
General Glen D. VanHerck (Commander, United States Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, United States Air Force), Strategic Forces Subcommittee Hearing: FY24 Strategic Forces Posture, March 8, 2023
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