Pentagon looking at West Coast sites for missile defense

Following an ICBM test by North Korea last Wednesday, the Pentagon agency responsible for defending the US against a missile attack is carrying out a survey of West Coast sites for potential missile defense.

Reuters:

Congressman Mike Rogers, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee and chairs the Strategic Forces Subcommittee which oversees missile defense, said the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), was aiming to install extra defenses at West Coast sites. The funding for the system does not appear in the 2018 defense budget plan indicating potential deployment is further off.

“It’s just a matter of the location, and the MDA making a recommendation as to which site meets their criteria for location, but also the environmental impact,” the Alabama Congressman and Republican told Reuters during an interview on the sidelines of the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in southern California.

Apparently, in order to defend the US from a thermonuclear attack, we must make sure not to disturb the habitat of the three toed frog or the horned lizard, or some other equally valuable animal species.

When asked about the plan, MDA Deputy Director Rear Admiral Jon Hill‎ said in a statement: “The Missile Defense Agency has received no tasking to site the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense System on the West Coast.”

The MDA is a unit of the U.S. Defense Department.

Congressman Rogers did not reveal the exact locations the agency is considering but said several sites are “competing” for the missile defense installations.

Rogers and Congressman Adam Smith, a Democrat representing the 9th District of Washington, said the government was considering installing the THAAD anti-missile system made by aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp, at west coast sites.

The Congressmen said the number of sites that may ultimately be deployed had yet to be determined.

THAAD is a ground-based regional missile defense system designed to shoot down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles and takes only a matter of weeks to install.

In addition to the two THAAD systems deployed in South Korea and Guam in the Pacific, the U.S. has seven other THAAD systems. While some of the existing missiles are based in Fort Bliss, Texas, the system is highly mobile and current locations are not disclosed.

It only takes a couple of weeks to install THAAD and I'm sure they could find funding for the sites in a hurry if they had to. But more importantly, the search for new missile defense sites shows that the government has reached a conclusion that North Korean missiles now have the range to hit the US mainland.

That last North Korean missile test reached an altitude of more than 2000 miles and landed 600 miles downrange. Experts believe that if launched on the right trajectory, the missile would be able to hit most of the US. 

The window to stop North Korea from being able to launch a nuclear armed ICBM at the US is closing fast. The choice facing the president is grave; negotiate and eventually allow a nuclear North Korea to exist or go to war to prevent that prospect. 

I don't think Trump will choose the former.

 

Following an ICBM test by North Korea last Wednesday, the Pentagon agency responsible for defending the US against a missile attack is carrying out a survey of West Coast sites for potential missile defense.

Reuters:

Congressman Mike Rogers, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee and chairs the Strategic Forces Subcommittee which oversees missile defense, said the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), was aiming to install extra defenses at West Coast sites. The funding for the system does not appear in the 2018 defense budget plan indicating potential deployment is further off.

“It’s just a matter of the location, and the MDA making a recommendation as to which site meets their criteria for location, but also the environmental impact,” the Alabama Congressman and Republican told Reuters during an interview on the sidelines of the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in southern California.

Apparently, in order to defend the US from a thermonuclear attack, we must make sure not to disturb the habitat of the three toed frog or the horned lizard, or some other equally valuable animal species.

When asked about the plan, MDA Deputy Director Rear Admiral Jon Hill‎ said in a statement: “The Missile Defense Agency has received no tasking to site the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense System on the West Coast.”

The MDA is a unit of the U.S. Defense Department.

Congressman Rogers did not reveal the exact locations the agency is considering but said several sites are “competing” for the missile defense installations.

Rogers and Congressman Adam Smith, a Democrat representing the 9th District of Washington, said the government was considering installing the THAAD anti-missile system made by aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp, at west coast sites.

The Congressmen said the number of sites that may ultimately be deployed had yet to be determined.

THAAD is a ground-based regional missile defense system designed to shoot down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles and takes only a matter of weeks to install.

In addition to the two THAAD systems deployed in South Korea and Guam in the Pacific, the U.S. has seven other THAAD systems. While some of the existing missiles are based in Fort Bliss, Texas, the system is highly mobile and current locations are not disclosed.

It only takes a couple of weeks to install THAAD and I'm sure they could find funding for the sites in a hurry if they had to. But more importantly, the search for new missile defense sites shows that the government has reached a conclusion that North Korean missiles now have the range to hit the US mainland.

That last North Korean missile test reached an altitude of more than 2000 miles and landed 600 miles downrange. Experts believe that if launched on the right trajectory, the missile would be able to hit most of the US. 

The window to stop North Korea from being able to launch a nuclear armed ICBM at the US is closing fast. The choice facing the president is grave; negotiate and eventually allow a nuclear North Korea to exist or go to war to prevent that prospect. 

I don't think Trump will choose the former.

 

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