(NationalSentinel) National Security: A report out this morning claims that North Korea could soon be capable of launching an attack on American military facilities in Hawaii, as some are now recommending bolstering missile defenses in the state.
The United States today relies on ground-based ballistic missile interceptors deployed in California and Alaska to protect Hawaii, but these defenses would do little to guard U.S. territory in the Pacific against a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which officials believe is nearing completion.
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency in February test fired a new SM-3 Block IIA missile from Hawaii that successfully intercepted an incoming ballistic missile, but the Pentagon does not maintain a permanent missile defense installation or detection capabilities on the Hawaiian Islands.
The Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii hosts an experimental, land-based ballistic missile defense system called Aegis Ashore. The facility served as a prototype for the U.S. missile defense facility in Romania, which was declared operational last year, and another in Poland that will be completed in 2018.
Under the North’s Kim Jong Un, saber-rattling has pretty much been the order of the day, with Pyongyang conducting missile and nuclear testing more frequently than in the past.
But does the little tyrant actually believe he could successfully engage the United States in battle – and win?
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No doubt North Korean forces could certain inflict casualties on U.S. and South Korean forces, and fairly quickly. There are thousands of artillery and rocket pieces located at or near the North-South demilitarized zone, which is the most heavily fortified border in the world. And the South’s capital of Seoul, devastated during the first Korean War, is well within range.
Still, the North has a pathetically underwhelming (and aged) air force, a third-class navy (despite recent upgrades) and questionable logistical capabilities to carry out sustained combat when U.S. and South Korean forces counterattack, as they surely would.
So it’s far more likely that Kim – who may well be the only obese person in North Korea – is more likely attempting to maintain support and loyalty by whipping national sentiment, an old trick for dictators and despots.
That said, China isn’t so convinced. It’s foreign ministry characterizes the situation between the U.S. and North Korea as “two trains” heading straight for a collision.
That may be, but China has historically been North Korea’s ally, so if there’s to be any diplomatic headway, it will have to be initiated by Beijing.
Meantime, U.S. military planners are being urged to step defenses by deploying existing Aegis anti-missile technology present on American warships ashore.