USA plans missile defence expansion to resist North Korea's 'extraordinary threat'

Trump will visit Pentagon to talk missile defense

Industry leaders and non-proliferation groups have been awaiting the report, which could call for more spending on new missile defense technologies and changes in USA missile defense strategies for Russian Federation and China.

President Donald Trump unveiled the military's long-delayed Missile Defense Review (MDR), the first overhaul of US missile defense policy since 2010.

The new review concludes that in order 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.

A senior administration official speaking to reporters on the condition of anonymity that while that a space-based layer of satellite sensors "is something we're looking at to help give early warning tracking", the review stopped short of calling for the deployment of interceptors in space.

Officials said the review is expected to embrace putting advanced sensors in space in a bid to better detect enemy missiles, allowing the United States military to intercept them even earlier.

"What we are seeing time and again now, to be very blunt, are partisan decisions being made by the White House that do impact the military and in the rank and file, you're beginning to see a lot of reaction", Starr said.

Both China and Russian Federation, the president noted, are fielding more missiles, both current ballistic missiles, and newer, more lethal cruise and hypersonic missiles.

Current U.S. missile-defence weapons are based on land and aboard ships.

"The United States will adjust its position to defend against any missile strikes to include cruise and hypersonic", Trump said.

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The president also talked about his proposal for Space Force with a space-based missile defense layer, saying he plans to fund the force in the next budget.

The missile defense review report said that the current Alaska and California defenses "in the event of conflict, it would defend, to the extent feasible, against a ballistic missile attack upon the US homeland from any source".

Part of the new strategy is to create a level of sensors in space. It outlined a number of new initiatives and strategies summarized in six points delivered by Trump, who Vice President Mike Pence said "knows the American people believe that "America First" begins with peace through strength". An expansion also would have important implications for American diplomacy, given long-standing Russian hostility to even the most rudimentary USA missile defenses and China's worry that longer-range US missile defenses in Asia could undermine Chinese national security.

"We are committed to establishing a missile defence program that can shield every city in the United States, and we will never negotiate away our right to do this", Trump said.

The Trump administration imposed crippling sanctions on North Korea aiming to force Kim Jong Un to abandon his nuclear weapons and missile programs.

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

Trump did not mention the North Korean missile threat in his remarks at the Pentagon. It is still considered a serious threat to America.

While the USA 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. Iran, meanwhile, has continued to develop more sophisticated ballistic missiles, increasing their numbers and their capabilities. Lampooned during the Reagan years for its high price tag and questionable effectiveness, missile defense now enjoys far broader support in Congress, particularly since North Korea tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile in 2017.

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