- No mas: Principal bans Spanish language in intercom announcement
- Hacking software could put ‘zombie drone army’ in user’s hands
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- 10 whales dead, 41 others stranded in Everglades
- John Boehner faces bipartisan pressure to allow gay-rights vote
- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
- Rep. Duncan Hunter: While Obama prays for Iranian change, U.S. should ready its nukes
- Best company ever? Veteran Beer Co. exists to employ vets, provide quality beer
- Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program
- ‘Black Santa’ display at IU sparks student outrage
U.S. ‘ready’ for N. Korean missile
COLORADO SPRINGS | U.S. missile defenses are prepared to try to knock down the last stage of a Taepodong-2 missile that North Korea is expected soon to launch if sensors detect the weapon threatens U.S. territory, the commander of the U.S. Northern Command told The Washington Times.
“The nation has a very, very credible ballistic-missile defense capability. Our ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California, I’m very comfortable, give me a capability that if we really are threatened by a long-range ICBM that I’ve got high confidence that I could interdict that flight before it caused huge damage to any U.S. territory,” said Air Force Gen. Victor E. “Gene” Renuart, Northcom commander.
The general said the United States won’t activate its missile defenses if the North Korean missile appears it will fall safely into the water as the country’s last test missile did.
(Corrected paragraph:) Asked if North Korea is likely to conduct a July 4 Taepodong-2 test, as occurred in 2006, Gen. Renuart said in an interview this week with The Times at Northern Command headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, “I think we ought to assume there might be one on the first of July and continue to be prepared and ready.”
Gen. Renuart, who is commander of the military’s first combatant command devoted to defending against threats to U.S. territory, is also the commander of the U.S.-Canada North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, which monitors missile launches around the world and also foreign military aircraft intrusions of U.S. air space. Since Sept. 11, 2001, NORAD is also in charge of tracking civilian aircraft to be ready to respond to a terrorist hijacking.
Gen. Renuart said North Korea’s leaders are unpredictable and their “decision logic does not always follow in the same vein as ours does.”
The four-star commander said that in addition to long-range interceptors, U.S. missile defenses in the Asia Pacific region include U.S. ground- and sea-based defense systems.
They include ground-based Patriot anti-missile defenses deployed in South Korea, and U.S. Navy Aegis system missile-defense ships deployed to waters near Japan. Recently, the Pentagon also activated units of the Army’s new Theater High-Altitude Area Defenses that were undergoing testing in Hawaii, in response to indications that North Korea is set to fire a Taepodong-2.
The regional defenses augment the long-range interceptors based at two sites, one in Alaska and one in California, Gen. Renuart said.
The Pacific Command missile defenses provide “a pretty well-integrated ground-based theater defense capability,” he said.
“I think we are certainly ready and capable of responding,” Gen. Renuart said.
The wild card in any future North Korean missile test remains the many unknowns about the regime in Pyongyang and whether it will attempt the test or irrationally fire a warhead toward Hawaii, he said.
“In terms of what North Korea’s decision process may be, or their logic, you got a Ph.D. in intentions, and you probably can’t figure that out,” Gen. Renuart said.
About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
By Tom Harris and Madhav Khandekar
Bad science puts rich nations on the hook for trillions in climate liabilities
- Angry NTSB ousts railroad union from N.Y. train crash site
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Puerto Rico caravan honoring Paul Walker ends in 6 drunken-driving arrests, 72 speeding tickets
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- Xbox One, Playstation 4 games penalize users for cursing in their own homes
- First Dog Sunny knocks down Ashtyn Gardner; Michelle Obama yanks leash
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- HURT: Postal Service misses address by a whole continent
- Allen West warns Obamas backdoor gun control is moving forward
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Does it take over 25 years in public service to really know what goes on in Washington?
Despite cynicism about the law, it can provide you justice, protection, and ensure your rights.