On the Korean Peninsula, North Korea has reached the apex in its charm offensive, maxing out its options and still not able to get the reaction from the West it seeks. Lifting crippling economic sanctions, recognition as a nuclear state, eliminating U.S. strategic presence on the Peninsula, and preserving its dictatorship are North Korea’s desires. This repetitive cycle of charm offensives lead by North Korea’s Kim dynasty, coming to the negotiation table to gain as much or little as they can and then breaking from the table to advance new military technology in capacity and capability to threaten the Peninsula and the region with the goal to force Western reaction to their desires, is forever embedded in their foundation as a nation from the beginning of their nation in 1948.
North Korea came into existence with the avid support of the Soviet Union and its military weapons and in 1950 North Korea tried to unify the Korean Peninsula and North Korea today remains reliant on Russian support for their new missile systems with advanced capabilities to include maneuvering warheads. In 1950, China kept North Korea in existence by sending in divisions of military forces to save them and pushing back the United Nations Force to the 38th parallel. China keeps North Korea in existence today as a buffer state and like North Korea has no appetite for the reunification of Korea and has a mutual dislike of U.S. strategic presence on the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea is walking all over the Republic of Korea (ROK) President Moon Jae-in’s Sunshine Policy of matching charm with charm, finding all the seams outside of U.S. denuclearization talks possible with Kim Jong Un and has now becoming seen as a failure to resolve the denuclearization of North Korea. Expectations of changing dynamics are soon to begin by Kim Jong Un on January 1, New Year’s day, with speeches and rocket works followed by April 15th North Korea’s Day of the Sun. Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) testing and nuclear testing, backed by parades of increased missile capacity, are North Korea’s resolve actions to keep the political survival within its state and to get driven responses by the United States, along with gambling on a reaction from a U.S. President in an election year.
The United States ability to defend its homeland and its forces on Peninsula, as well as in the region, against these North Korean increasing new technologies is paramount to providing stability for continued diplomacy, giving confidence to the populations threatened by North Korea, and to change the true calculus, not the rhetoric, of North Korea to escalate and use these weapons in conflict.
Earlier this year, the United States delayed its intended capacity increase of Ground Based Interceptors (GBIs) for the ballistic missile defense (BMD) of the homeland to be deployed from 44 to 64 by 2025 with the cancellation of the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) program. This reduction of U.S. homeland missile defense capacity increases risk of defeating an overmatch of North Korean nuclear ICBMs that continue to be in production and coupled with a change in North Korean dynamics and brings forward a serious concern to the national security of the United States. There are 20 new silos being constructed in Alaska, as well as the introduction of a next generation missile defense system, the “Next Generation Interceptor (NGI)” to be deployed in the 2030 timeframe which currently is not funded or approved by Congress. The risk assessment by the United States government 2019 Missile Defense Review (MDR) requested 64 GBIs by 2023 for the defense of the United States homeland against North Korea, which is not being fulfilled. This marks a 31% reduction of missile defense capability for the United States homeland against a North Korean nuclear ICBM threat that is growing and changing dynamics to be more aggressive with its ballistic missiles and nuclear development.
The growing North Korean threat in capacity, capability, and intent of attaining 50 nuclear ICBMs will change its negotiating position from denuclearization to arms control reduction, validating its nuclear state and solidifying its population in its self-defense that goes beyond with purpose to overmatch limited U.S. homeland defense capacity, but also regional missile defense capacity and capabilities on the Peninsula, in Japan, and on Guam. If the United States cannot adequately protect with redundancy of close to 99% reliability of the homeland from an overmatch of North Korean nuclear ballistic missiles, it certainly cannot assure and provide regional defense to its forces and allies nor can it realistically negotiate denuclearization with North Korea.
It is a national security priority, a United States Congressional priority, and a United States Presidential priority to address the 31% reduction of our intended GBI force and rapidly find solutions to increase capabilities for the defense of our population from North Korea.
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.
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