A new security era has begun for our nation and that of our allies in the world. North Korea has successfully tested a long range ballistic missile. This success coupled with the North Korean nuclear weapons makes North Korea a nuclear threat of a rogue nation with an irrational leader that will have the capability to project a nuclear weapon to the territory of the United States and its allies in the near future.
North Korea accomplished the successful test in defiance of the United States, the United Nations Security Council and international sanctions placed upon them to include a self imposed “moratorium” on missile and nuclear testing since the early 1990’s. Diplomatic efforts particularly by the United States, both current and past Administrations, failed to prevent a launch of a long range missile by a rogue nation.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command and the U.S. Northern Command out of Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado confirmed that “North Korea launched a Taepodong 2 missile at 10:30 p.m. EDT Saturday which passed over the Sea of Japan and the nation of Japan. Stage one of the missile fell into the Sea of Japan. The remaining stages along with the payload itself landed in the Pacific Ocean. No object entered orbit and no debris fell on Japan.”
Early indications show that North Korea’s long range ballistic missile traveled a minimum of 2,000 kilometers. The Taepodong 2 missile achieved it first staging successfully dropping its first stage in the Sea of Japan, but early indications show that the second stage may have dropped short of their intended drop point in the Pacific Ocean. There is no determination of a third stage at this time, and the payload has landed harmlessly in the Pacific Ocean somewhere between Japan and Hawaii.
United States’ President Barack Obama stated in Prague today that, “North Korea broke the rules once more by testing a rocket that could be used for a long range missile. This provocation underscores the need for action — not just this afternoon at the UN Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons.”
White House coordinator for arms control Gary Samore stated, “The North Korean test illustrates the importance of continuing to develop missile defense in order to protect both the country and our allies in Asia.”
North Korean proliferation of ICBM technology and their defiance against U.S. and diplomatic pressure to develop and prove their long range ballistic missile capability and nuclear weapons is a very serious global security matter that puts millions of lives at risk.
Clear implications of the U.S. Department of Defense’s budget on missile defense are being released tomorrow by Secretary Robert M. Gates and will have to take into full account for full funding for a “robust” multi-layered missile defense system to protect the millions of American lives and the U.S. territory that will be at risk. Missile defense accounts for about 2% of the DOD budget and is now a needed and required capability to defend our citizens and territory. A robust multi-layered missile defense will also give our President a much needed real capability to counter and provide a valuable option to deal with this new era of nuclear rogue nations with irrational leaders that can project power through ballistic missiles.