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Clockwise: Riki Ellison, Chairman and Founder of MDAA, MG Jamie Jarrard, Chief of Staff US INDOPACOM, RADM (Ret) Mark Montgomery, Former Director of Operations, US Pacific Command, and Mr. John Rood, Former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Department of Defense at the Virtual Roundtable: North Korea Launches an ICBM in Indo-Pacific: What are the Implications? on March 29th, 2022.

“You know the world’s been focused on Ukraine. The world’s been focused a little bit on the threats coming from Iran and Abu Dhabi. But last Thursday, North Korea launched a ICBM missile, Hwasong-17, that went around 6,000 Ks, about 3,700 miles, 71 minutes, and that capability proven can strike any place on the United States of America. It is a liquid-fueled rocket. It has the capability to have a payload of two or three reentry vehicles. Two or three nuclear weapons could be placed on that rocket.”

“Since then, there have been some major things that have happened, one of them being the budget drop that happened yesterday. Right now, the budget drop has 150% increase in the spending for missile defense. Our missile defense budget was around 10 billion. The last budget was at 24.7 billion. They have combined offense, long-distance fires with left of launch with this budget. You’re seeing a combination of offense and defensive capability grouped around missile defense for the first time. That’s a significant movement for our administration, for our country in looking at deterrent, looking at strategic deterrent and tactical deterrent. In this budget, we’ve seen an increase from about 1.7 billion to 2.5, 2.6 billion in our ground-based interceptors. But more than  half of it is going to the next-generation interceptor, the NGI, and the other part of it is going for the reliability of our current ground-based interceptors. Also, this morning, we had our first successful intercept of our newest PAC-3 missile, the MSC, with the radar THAAD capability in White Sands, New Mexico.”

Riki Ellison, “North Korea Launches an ICBM in the Indo-Pacific: What are the Implications?”, March 29, 2022

“For additional context behind this recent launch, we’ve seen 13 launches out of the DPRK so far this year, ranging from short-range systems to the most recent, highly-lofted ICBM. Each time that happens, we participate in a national level of conference to assess the sensor and intelligence data, draw some initial conclusions about the threats to the region or threats to the homeland, and then take appropriate actions. For another perspective, we’ve also seen over 1,300 launches in the Russian-Ukraine conflict, and we assess every single one of those the exact same way.”

“Back to the DPRK, I’d put them in roughly three categories. The first one is research and development. We know they are working to make their arsenal more lethal and more complex, but each of these gives us an opportunity to watch and to learn and consider the implications. Are there advancements or other information that advances what we already know about the rogue-nation threat? Based on the characteristics of that specific test against the expected IAMD performance, how are they doing? Are they advancing? Are they not advancing? It is an opportunity to learn and assess their capabilities. The second category would be provocation. We’ve seen North Korea launch known capabilities in what we believe are pure acts of provocation, which carry similar implications as R&D, but also, “Who are they trying to influence? How can we respond? What is the best measures of response? Is it from the United States? Is it from allies and partners? Is it all together?” and considerations for those key allies and partners at risk, and specifically the Republic of Korea and Japan, and then an attack.”

“We’re looking for any sensor that will help us see the threat, improve our sensor network to enable an AOR-wide integrated and layered sensor coverage, a modular open-system architecture to allow us to link with key allies and partners, and the best effector, improve our effectors, both quality and quality, get effectors in the right places, that requires coordination with our allies and partners, access basing and positioning, and a word on the pacing threat. While the preponderance of our IAMD systems are rogue nation-focused, specifically DPRK, in this theater, we’re also working to develop a network that is capable of defending the homeland first and foremost, but also able to protect our fielded forces and help defend our partners and allies against all threats. The Guam defense system is a great example of all of that rolled into one. The FY23 requirement for the GDS, the Guam defense system, was fully funded as part of the budget yesterday. It’s introducing a 360-degree persistent air and missile defense capability on Guam, which remains the most important action the US can take to increase the lethality of the joint force.”

Major General Jamie Jarrard, “North Korea Launches an ICBM in the Indo-Pacific: What are the Implications?”, March 29, 2022

“General Jarrard talked about the fact there were 13 missile launches this year, but it’s 13 launches of a multiplicity of capabilities. It’s not a single type of capability. These are increasingly sophisticated, capable systems, whether that be measured in accuracy, range, payload, capacity, mobility, difficulty for an offensive or defensive force to counter their systems. In all of the general categories that you would evaluate growth and sophistication, and in numbers, North Korea is growing in a very noteworthy way. I will say I remain concerned that in our general defense doctrine, we’re not taking missile defense seriously enough. The fact there have been over 1,300 missile launches by the Russians in the Ukraine conflict is just the latest example of this, where missiles are a primary method of warfare. Our defense doctrine does not regard them as a primary method of warfare.”

“The North Koreans are very deliberate here in when they are launching things, how they are doing it, and the messaging around the world. By denying the objective of those messages, that’s part of deterring that behavior and shaping it. We do need to be prepared for failures of deterrence. North Korea has lashed out at times and attacked South Korean vessels, fired across into North Korea with various weapons. We could very well see that kind of behavior. In our case, their missiles are armed with nuclear weapons. I think we’re not taking that quite seriously enough as a challenge.”

John Rood, “North Korea Launches an ICBM in the Indo-Pacific: What are the Implications?”, March 29, 2022

“Looking specifically at this attack, like any kind of petulant seven-year-old in a playground, Kim Jong-un wasn’t getting the proper attention, and so he went and popped off a pretty large ICBM missile to make sure we were watching him. But we really do have to take a broad approach of getting back at this. I don’t use the word integrated deterrence because I think integrated is just an adjective thrown out in front of deterrence. We’ve been doing deterrence all along. We’ve been doing integrated deterrence for 40 or 50 years. Sometimes we use the word whole of government, a lot of other terminology for it, all elements of national power, but integrated deterrence is what we need, and an effective deterrence strategy is going to start with some military.”

“If I could give one piece of advice, We’re going to eventually end up at the negotiating table with the North Koreans again. That’s what Kim Jong-un wants. The one thing I’d leave off the table is readiness exercises. We can’t take these hiatuses anymore. Readiness is a two-edged sword. Part of it is deterrence, showing North Korea that when they fight the US and the Republic of Korea, two plus two equals five, but the other part is our own capability and capacity with the Koreans. We come together for these events. Although we live together and work together, we’re not doing every single tactical level event together. These big readiness exercises really drive together that stronger-together concept we have with the Republic of Korea war fighters. We can’t take those off the table for the next few years.”

RADM (Ret) Mark Montgomery, “North Korea Launches an ICBM in the Indo-Pacific: What are the Implications?”, March 29, 2022

“Your ability to be out front requesting the first part of defense of Guam to enable your forces to go forward, to be able to create the first time we’re going to integrate missile defense with missile offense, to engage space, to engage our partners, that we can do much more in this arena than anywhere else in the world with trust and capability, common capability, to create what the world’s going to want to see, what we’re going to see on how you do this, how you tactically deter a country that has capability and intent that aren’t playing by the rules. You set that standard. You set the golden standard. This is not Ukraine, not NATO. This is right here, and this is our homeland. This is the most important theater for the defense of the United States of America and for the world order right here, right now. I commend your leadership, and you’re seeing our President and our Congress giving you the resources, giving you the joint doctrine to lead, so lead and win.”

Riki Ellison, “North Korea Launches an ICBM in the Indo-Pacific: What are the Implications?”, March 29, 2022

Click here to watch the complete roundtable
Click here for a printable version of the transcript


Major General Jamie Jarrard

Chief of Staff

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

Mr. John Rood

Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

Department of Defense

Rear Admiral (Ret) Mark Montgomery

Former Director of Operations

U.S. Pacific Command

Mr. Riki Ellison

Chairman and Founder

Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance

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.