Washington D.C. – January 8, 2014 – The United States’ ability to defend itself from North Korea’s ballistic missiles will be determined by the decisions of the White House, Congress and Pentagon to follow through on planned upgrades to the U.S. integrated Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System, said MDAA Chairman Riki Ellison in a Wednesday statement.
The statement came on the heels of South Korea’s release of its 2014 Defense White Paper, which assessed that North Korea is likely capable of striking U.S territory with a ballistic missile.
Ellison highlighted recent progress in the U.S. effort to shore up its defenses against North Korean missiles, including the successful June 22 test of the homeland BMD system and the activation of a second TPY-2 missile defense radar in Japan. The radar, said Ellison, “will greatly enhance sensor coverage for the ballistic missile defense of Japan and the U.S. homeland.” He also noted that this additional radar coverage would free some of the U.S. Navy Aegis ships currently on BMD patrols in the region to perform other missions.
Ellison went on to say that the United States has begun “addressing the requirement to modernize the existing kill vehicles both CE-I and CE-II that make up the 30 currently deployed GBIs, soon to be 44 by 2017, which are over 20 years old in technology.”
The U.S. is also working to develop and deploy a new Long Range Discrimination Radar in Alaska, which Ellison says will “create more battle space and better track long-range ballistic missiles from North Korea heading towards the United States.”
“The fate of these additional upgrades, modifications to the GBI and the new LRDR will be up to the new Congress, President Obama and incoming Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.” Ellison emphasized, adding that it is imperative that the Administration, Congress, and Pentagon “provide the necessary support to test, acquire and deploy sensors and interceptors to defend our people and our way of life from North Korea.”
“We must stay ahead of the curve.” The MDAA Chairman concluded.
Read Riki Ellison’s Full Statement Here.
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