The North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un began the New Year with a threat directed towards the President of the United States and the President Elect of the United States stating that his nuclear-capable country was close to test-launching an intercontinental ballistic missile reaching parts of the United States.
Kim Jong-Un declared North Korea a “nuclear and military power in the east that formidable enemy dare encroach on” and said “unless the US and its vassal forces stop nuclear threat and blackmail and unless they stop the war exercises which they stage right at our noses under the pretext of annual exercises, the DPRK would keep increasing the military capabilities for self-defense and preemptive striking capacity with a main emphasis on nuclear force,”
Kim further stated, “Research and development of the cutting-edge tech weapons are actively progressing and strengthening our defense capabilities, including last stage preparation of tests for intercontinental ballistic rocket launch have been continuously succeeding.”
In response yesterday to the North Korean New Year’s statement, President Obama’s Department of Defense Spokesperson – Mr. Peter Cook , the Pentagon’s Press Secretary stated in a press conference; (LINK to the entire Press Conference)
“Listen, North Korea continues to be a threat to this country. You’ve heard Secretary Carter talk about that at length. It’s one of the five challenges that we’re dealing with on a daily basis and it’s the reason we have more than 28,000 troops in South Korea right now ready to fight tonight. This is a country that’s clearly shown a willingness to threaten the United States, threaten our allies in the region, and we’re going to continue to do everything we need to protect ourselves from that threat,” stated Peter Cook.
Today the United States has close to 40 Ground Based Interceptors operationally deployed with 3 of them deployed in California and the rest in Alaska connected to multiple sensors deployed across the Pacific, in Japan and the United States all fused together in creating targeting solutions to successfully intercept a single nuclear North Korean ICBM. This system is capable of defending all 50 United States from a North Korean nuclear ICBM using multiple shots. The United States Territory of Guam located in the Pacific has a THAAD system with multiple interceptors and an x-band radar that is capable to defend all of Guam from a North Korean ICBM also using multiple shots.
President Elect Donald Trump in response to the provocative North Korean New Year’s Statement stated in a tweet, “ North Korea just stated that it is in the final stages of developing a nuclear weapon capable of reaching parts of the U.S. It won’t Happen!”
Mr. Trump’s reference to “It won’t happen!” can be looked at from three perspectives in not allowing it to happen when he is President; 1) by leveraging and applying left of launch directives to eliminate that threat before it is launched by a variety of ways, 2) having confidence in the current Ground Based Midcourse GMD homeland defense system and modernization of that system to intercept successfully staying always ahead of the ICBM threat from North Korea and 3) having clear resolve and intent to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear capability and its leadership should they ever decide to launch or test a nuclear ICBM with ranges to strike United States or its Allies in the region.
The United States is clearly ahead of the North Korean nuclear ICBM threat in limited single digit numbers. An impending U.S. ground based interceptor test in the early spring will further validate the upgrades (link to last year’s test) to the second generation interceptor called the CE -2, which makes up a smaller portion of the total fleet of interceptors while the first generation interceptors remain the majority. Further modernization and increased reliability of the GBI system is being invested in by the United States with the Long-Range Discrimination Radar and the new Redesigned Kill Vehicle over the next three to five years which will reduce the amount of shots taken at a single North Korean Nuclear ICBM. There is legitimate concern and awareness that the state of Hawaii has less GBI intercept opportunities today then the rest of the 49 States and even greater concern of North Korea developing Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicle technology on their ICBMs.
President Obama has invested, tested and deployed missile defense capability and adequate capacity of these systems to defeat and defend the United States homeland from a North Korean nuclear ICBM. President Elect Donald Trump will look to do more.