Missile Defense Efforts
A Top Priority
by David Vergun, DOD News
March 31, 2020
Defending the homeland and deployed forces, allies and partners
from missile threats of any type is the military's top priority.
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. James A. Cruz, left, and Cpl. Toviah J. Viel fire a Stinger missile at Fort Greely, Alaska, March 3, 2020, during Arctic Edge. The exercise focuses on training, tactics and procedures for operating in an Arctic environment. (Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Elias Pimentel)
The Defense Department continues to invest in technologies that
accomplish this, particularly in the space-based sensor-tracking of
advanced cruise missiles and hypersonic threats, said Rob Soofer,
deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile
Soofer and DOD officials testified yesterday
at a hearing before a House Armed Services Committee subcommittee on
DOD also plans to field 20 additional
ground-based interceptors to address rogue-state missile threats
coming from North Korea, he said. The department is also deploying
additional advanced radars in Alaska.
An Aegis Ashore Ballistic
Missile Defense System is set up at U.S. Naval Support
Facility in Deveselu, Romania, August 9, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by
Lt. Amy Forsythe)
Air Force Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, commander of the U.S.
Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command,
described a layered missile defense system that can detect threats
from the sea, land, air, space and cyber domains.
ground-based interceptors can intercept missiles now, a next
generation interceptor will be needed in the future as adversaries'
missiles become more advanced, he said.
Navy Vice Adm. Jon
Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said a year ago the
ground-based, midcourse defense system successfully intercepted an
intercontinental ballistic missile target.
Later this year,
Missile Defense Agency will be preparing for initial fielding of the
Long Range Discrimination Radar, he said.
test fires Patriot missiles at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., March
27, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Jason Cutshaw)
MDA is also working to integrate various missile defense systems,
including the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and Patriot
Missile Defense System, he said.
Army Lt. Gen. Daniel
Karbler, commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense
Command, said air and missile defense is among the Army's top six
Examples of the work being done by
the Army is testing of the first five prototype systems of interim,
mobile, short-range air defense, he said.
An M902 Patriot missile
launcher, pulled by a truck, is unloaded from a 17
Globemaster III. at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, November 5, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ariel
Also, the Army selected the Iron Dome Weapon System as the
indirect fire protection against cruise missiles, he said.
The Army is also experimenting with high-energy lasers, which are a
low-cost complement to kinetic energy weapons to counter artillery,
rocket, mortars, cruise missiles and unmanned aircraft threats, he
To sum up, Karbler said the Army is working
on defensive and offensive systems to counter missile threats in all
phases of flight, including pre-launch; all-weather conditions; and
in any denied, degraded or contested environment.
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