Trump will visit Pentagon to talk missile defense

Trump will visit Pentagon to talk missile defense

President Donald Trump vowed on Thursday (Jan 17) to boost America's missile defence systems, including by investing in technology to protect against the growing threat of hypersonic weapons and cruise missiles.

Donald Trump has announced plans for the biggest expansion in United States missile defence since the Reagan-era Star Wars project, in a policy review that singles out North Korea as an "extraordinary threat" seven months after the president claimed that threat had been eliminated by his diplomacy.

The new review is the first since 2010, and it concludes that to adequately protect America, the Pentagon must expand defense technologies in space and use those systems to more quickly detect, track and ultimately defeat incoming missiles.

U.S. officials, including Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin, believe a space-based sensor layer will help detect missiles moving at hypersonic speeds.

Top among the concerns highlighted in the review is the speed at which rivals, particularly China and Russian Federation, are pushing ahead with hypersonic missiles, which can thwart traditional defence systems.

President Trump participates in the Missile Defense Review announcement at the Pentagon.

Addressing missile threats has become a central feature of the Trump administration's defense policies. It may also test whether Aegis missile defense systems on American ships can down the sort of intercontinental ballistic missile Pyongyang could launch against the United States.

A senior administration official said Wednesday that the planned improvements in missile defense technology and operational concepts doesn't envision preemptive strikes to prevent an enemy missile launch.

The review, Trump said, calls for 20 new ground-based interceptors in Alaska as well as new radar and sensors to detect missiles.

The release of the strategy was postponed past year for unexplained reasons, although it came as Mr. Trump was trying to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. These will be capable of shielding every city in the United States, Trump said.

While the US efforts will look to counter regional missile threats, they don't seek to protect against a full-scale strategic missile attack on the American homeland by a nuclear-armed nation such as Russian Federation or China. The Russian leader argued at the time that his campaign to modernize Moscow's military might came in response to world powers ignoring Russian interests, arguing, "You will listen to us now". Before delivering details of the new missile strategy, Trump used his speech to continue his push for a southern border wall.

The release of the strategy was postponed previous year for unexplained reasons, though it came as Trump was trying to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

It is unclear to what extent the report would single out North Korea.

Speaking ahead of the president Thursday, Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan said North Korean and Iranian missiles "remain a significant concern" across the globe.

While the United States continues to pursue peace with North Korea, Pyongyang has made threats of nuclear missile attacks against the US and its allies in the past and has worked to improve its ballistic missile technology. "To do so, the United States will integrate active missile defenses with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and strike capabilities to counter regional offensive missile threats and rogue missile threats to the homeland".

Missile defenses "must be continuously strengthened and expanded given the growing challenges posed by potential adversaries, particularly rogue states, who are contesting the established worldwide order and deploying greater numbers of increasingly sophisticated offensive missiles", the report said.

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