The National Interest:
Although the Trump Missile Defense Review (MDR) includes aspirations to significantly improve missile defense beyond the Obama administration’s missile defense plans and programs, the budget request to Congress revealed few moves to turn aspirations to reality. But one such step was to test the SM-3 Block IIA against an intercontinental-range target. Doing so deserves the bipartisan support of Congress.
While designed to significantly increase the defended area and help Japanese defense against a North Korean attack from intermediate-range ballistic missiles, it has become increasingly clear that the SM-3 Block IIA has the potential to intercept longer-range missiles of intercontinental range. But the U.S. should test the IIA variant against that threat set to glean critical data and demonstrate what has only been seen in simulations and models. This is what the Department of Defense wishes to do, and what Congress, until recently, directed them to do.