It has been over nine months since North Korea has intentionally stopped nuclear testing and over six months since North Korea has intentionally stopped ballistic missile testing that can reach the United States. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo recently said the administration estimated it would take 2.5 years or longer to complete the “major disarmament” of North Korea.
It will be a long time for all aspects to come to completion with the difficult and challenging negotiations that would contain a continual step by step draw down of North Korea’s nuclear capacity and capability in exchange of elements that lead up to guaranteed security and survival for the North Korea regime. Missile defense in Korea, the region, and the United States will continue to develop and remain as a pillar of strength, security, and stability that is nonnegotiable and required to be as capable as possible. It is about averting crisis during this time with capability deployed to deter, negate, defend, and to enable this long process to go forward and be completed.
It is North Korea’s complex ballistic missile threat, capability and capacity, that has driven the United States to deploy the most integrated ballistic missile systems in the world. This continued developing capability is a critical tool of stability and peace required for other regions in the world today and in the future to negate similar and evolving threats. Enemies to the United States and the free world are continuing to develop new technologies and weapon systems to project force and defeat defenses. There is no better place in the world today than the United States Homeland, the Korean Peninsula, and the waters of the Pacific to see the evolution, further integration, increased efficiency, and increased robustness of missile defense. North Korea’s nuclear missile capability and capacity has driven a competitive cauldron for the United States and its allies, the Republic of Korea and Japan, to produce and deploy in phases multiple cross-service, multi-domain, and multi-national missile defense systems to defend the populations from complex ballistic missile threats.
General Vincent Brooks’, Commander of the United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea, Joint Emergent Operational Needs (JEON) has lead and required the most capable regional integrated air and missile defense system in the world today. Made up of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and Patriot with the Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) to increase the defended area and decrease the number of interceptors needed for each engagement on the Peninsula, leveraging the best interceptor with the best sensor in these U.S. Army systems. In a phased approach, expanding this concept to add other services such as the Navy and Air Force to contribute their air and ballistic missile defense sensors and interceptors, such as land or sea-based Standard Missile-6 (SM-6) as well as the Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) and integrating the F-35 as command and control, sensor, and air to air interceptor platform.
The Indo-Pacific Command (PACOM) that has placed THAAD in Guam under President Obama and an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) ship off the waters of Guam, in an integrated, cross-service, and layered defense the world has never seen before, to defend the island and its population from ballistic missiles. This can be duplicated around the Pacific to include Hawaii and other small defended areas across the world if threatened.
Strategic Command (STRATCOM) and Northern Command (NORTHCOM) have evolved and proven a ground-based missile defense system through four U.S. Presidents, with a command and control center, the Command and Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC), to mesh sensors from space, Aegis BMD ships, the Sea-Based X-Band (SBX) radar in the Pacific, and land-based radars in Japan, Alaska, and California with the 44 Ground-Based Interceptors (GBIs) to provide a capability to defend the United States with high confidence and reliability against the North Korean nuclear missile threat. It is the world’s cutting edge of a cross-domain and cross-service Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) defense, defending 300 million people.
Yesterday the United States Army Air Defense Branch celebrated its 50th year since forming a separate branch from the Army Artillery Branch in 1968. The highest-ranking Air Defense General, Lieutenant General James Dickinson, the Army’s Space and Missile Defense Commander, is leading the effort to bring non-kinetic effectors from the other domains of space and cyber to go left of launch and integrate with the right of launch kinetic interceptors and directed high energy lasers.
We have great expectations to make the world a safer place.