Dear Members and Friends,
In the backdrop of yesterday’s top multimedia and press reports that reflected government intelligence which stated that the impending North Korea missile launch was to be delayed, dismantled and technically not capable to launch at this time; the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) confirmed detecting a North Korean launch. It tracked the rocket as its first stage appeared to fall into the Yellow Sea and the second stage into the Philippine Sea. NORAD stated, “Initial indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit”.
North Korea has successfully launched a three stage missile into space and put an estimated two hundred pound satellite into orbit, proving its technical, manufacturing and engineering prowess on multi-staging, guidance and payload separation to deliver a satellite in space and around the globe demonstrating the key critical elements of a Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). It is a fundamental breakthrough that has taken North Korea five major missile tests, beginning in 1998, to achieve. This is a resounding achievement for a poor depressed nation, that has been severely sanctioned by the international community, the United Nations and the United States of America continuously for more than a decade.
North Korea will now move towards a much easier technical challenge of creating a re-entry vehicle that can withstand the heat, friction and high speeds to deliver a weapon from space through the atmosphere to detonate in the atmosphere or on the surface of the Earth. North Korea has already established and proven its re-entry vehicle technology for lower speeds of short range missiles North Korea will also work at a much harder technical challenge to miniaturize its nuclear weapons to be placed on a future ICBM payload.
This successful demonstration to the world by North Korea has significant ramifications to other state actors who are seeking weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them such as Iran as well as to those countries that are and will be directly threatened by North Korea. The Republic of Korea, Japan and the United States of America will be the primary recipients of North Korea’s intimidation, leverage and influence to project power outside of their borders.
This North Korean achievement that has defied the United Nations, our President and our intelligent communities to the world sets precedent and encouragement to Iran to stand strong on its national will in attaining Nuclear capability and the ballistic missile means to project it.
It is absolutely imperative that our nation is technically ahead, with great confidence and reliability, of this North Korean threat with the means to intercept and destroy North Korean future ICBMs. Our nation’s ground based missile defense system (GMD) deployed in Alaska and California, with its command and control in Colorado and its sensors across the Pacific all integrated together, is the investment we have made as a nation and we will need to continue to increase that investment to ensure our safety and defense of our citizens and homeland is as close to 100 percent as possible.
We are so fortunate that our nation and the nations of South Korea and Japan have invested in missile defense as they all had capability as one joint integrated international team to help detect and track this North Korean successful space launch.
We thank all of the sailors, soldiers, airman and national guardsmen of our nation’s missile defense systems for being deployed and on full alert last night as they do every night in defending our homeland and protecting our lives.