It is a crucial development in the wake of North Korea’s multiple missile tests, and one of the first fruits of President Ronald Reagan’s vision of a nuclear shield, originally called SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) or derided as “Star Wars” by mocking critics. One wonders how the mockers will react now to news of the most significant development in military technology in many a year.
The United States’ Missile Defense Agency intercepted an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) during the first live-fire test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system this past weekend. The missile was fired from the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Its target? Open ocean just south of Alaska. Sea-based radar in the Pacific tracked the missile as well as multiple sensors within the Missile Defense Agency’s arsenal.
The success of this GMD test cannot be understated. Intercepting one missile with another is the equivalent of hitting one bullet with another but on a larger and more complex scale. Vice Admiral Jim Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, spoke highly of the test’s results.
The intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target is an incredible accomplishment for the GMD system and a critical milestone for the program. This system is vitally important to the defense of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat.
That threat, in no uncertain terms, is indeed North Korea. The rogue nation and its despotic regime have consistently threatened the United States and its allies with a war on a massive scale. It has engaged nine missile tests this year, against various UN resolutions and sanctions, including one on 28 May which landed 300 miles off the Japanese coast.
North Korea’s increased provocations spurred the United States and South Korea to emplace Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems on the Korean Peninsula. A controversial move opposed by China and many within the South Korean government. Liberty Nation has previously covered the THAAD controversy and its impact on regional politics, but it appears that the plot still thickens on THAAD.
South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, was reportedly shocked by the deployment of four additional THAAD anti-missile systems. President Moon, who took office 10 May after a sudden election held two months earlier following the ouster of Park Geun-hye, was critical of the THAAD system before the election. President Moon’s surprise stems from what appears to be an intentional underreporting of THAAD operations by South Korea’s Defense Ministry. While the Pentagon has remained transparent and cooperative with the South Korean government, President Moon has called for a prove to determine the reason and motive behind the misreporting.
The THAAD system is one of many tools for intercepting North Korean (and other missiles) and yesterday’s successful test of the GMD system is not only promising but also a warning to North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un.
Except for their missile system, many consider the North Korean military to be a paper tiger. If the GMD test tells us anything, it is that the tiger can be declawed.