- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
North Korea making missile able to hit U.S.
Republicans press Pentagon for long-range interceptors
Question of the Day
New intelligence indicates that North Korea is moving ahead with building its first road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, an easily hidden weapon capable of hitting the United States, according to Obama administration officials.
The intelligence was revealed in a classified Capitol Hill briefing last month. Its existence was made public in a letter to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta from five House Republicans.
“As members of the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces …, we write out of concerns about new intelligence concerning foreign developments in long-range ballistic missile development, specifically ballistic missiles capable of attacking the United States,” the Nov. 17 letter said.
“We believe this new intelligence reiterates the need for the administration to correct its priorities regarding missile defenses, which should have, first and foremost, the missile defense of the homeland.”
Officials familiar with the intelligence said government analysts believe the missile could be a variant of North Korea’s new Musudan intermediate-range missile, first disclosed publicly in October 2010.
Other intelligence indicates that the new ICBM may be under development at a huge missile testing facility on North Korea’s western coast.
Prior to its mobile ICBM, North Korea’s long-range missiles were the pad-launched Taepodong-1 prototype, and the Taepodong-2 (TD-2) dual-use ICBM and space launcher. The TD-2 was test-launched in April 2009.
Mobile missiles are difficult for tracking radar to locate, making them easier to hide. They also can be set up and launched much more quickly than missiles fired from silos or launchpads.
China’s military recently deployed two new mobile ICBMs, the DF-31 and DF-31A. It is not known whether North Korea’s new mobile missile is based on Chinese technology. China in the past has provided missile technology to North Korea, a fraternal communist ally.
The first indications of Pyongyang’s new mobile ICBM were made public in June by Robert M. Gates, who was defense secretary at the time.
After a speech in Singapore, Mr. Gates said, “With the continued development of long-range missiles and potentially a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile and their continuing development of nuclear weapons, … North Korea is in the process of becoming a direct threat to the United States.”
The new intelligence was discussed during a closed-door briefing in mid-November for the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces and discussed in the letter to Mr. Panetta. The letter did not say specifically that the missile was North Korean, but it quoted Mr. Gates on Pyongyang’s mobile ICBM development.
The letter was signed by Rep. Michael R. Turner, Ohio Republican and chairman of the subcommittee, and subcommittee Republican Reps. Mike Rogers of Alabama, Trent Franks of Arizona, Doug Lamborn of Colorado and Mac Thornberry of Texas.
Congressional aides declined to comment on the intelligence.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
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.
TWT Video Picks
By Ted Cruz
Israel saves its enemies; Hamas endangers its friends
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Army's 3-D printed bombs to create 'a whole new universe' of lethal capabilities
- GOP leaders delay border bill, leave Obama in control
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Colorado poll shows women tuning out Democrats' 'war on women' strategy
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world