The Pentagon conducted its first-ever successful GMD (Ground-Based Midcourse Defense) anti-missile test against a mock ICBM this Tuesday in what is widely interpreted as a message to North Korea.
The interceptor missile was fired from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in Southern California. It was successfully able to take out a ballistic missile target launched from the Marshall Islands over 4,000 miles away.
The target was designed to simulate an ICBM, meaning it reached higher speeds (3-4x the speed of sound) than targets used in previous tests.
“This test clearly demonstrates to our adversaries that our homeland missile defense system remains on track to defend our country,” said Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK).
The brash test took place just two days after North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile that flew about 248 miles before splashing into the sea. This is the peninsula’s ninth missile test this year, and Kim Jong-un has warned that “the US has a bigger gift package coming.”
The interceptor test is “an incredible accomplishment for the GMD system and a critical milestone for this program,” said Navy Vice Admiral Jim Syring, head of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency. “This system is vitally important to the defense of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat.”
The decision to publically test our anti-missile technology is an interesting move by the Trump Administration that serves two purposes:
1. It counters media claims that North Korea is capable of hitting us, allowing Americans to relax.
2. Sends a clear message to North Korea and other hostile regimes that whatever they have, they have no possibility of defeating or even threatening us.
Critics argue that anti-missile technology is too costly and that controlled tests cannot replicate the confusion of a real-world attack.
“The $244 million test does not necessarily confirm that the American military is capable of defending itself against an intercontinental-range missile fired by North Korea,” reports NBC News. North Korea is understood to be working towards an ICBM capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and “could have developed decoys sophisticated enough to trick an interceptor into missing the real warhead.”
Author’s Note: This sort of technology is generally classified information, but this is an instance in which President Trump has the authority to reveal sensitive information in the best interests of his country. Giving the American people the confidence that they are not in danger is well worth the sacrifice to secrecy.