Posts tagged ‘North Korea’
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Russia continues to act aggressively on land, sea and air from the Baltics to the Black Sea — and now in Syria. China is blamed for massive cyber hacks of U.S. commercial and government computers, while continuing to antagonize its neighbors by a military buildup in the South China Sea. North Korea has nuclear weapons and wants more, along with intercontinental ballistic missiles. Iran has been trying to develop nuclear capability for years, as well as missiles with increasing range.
At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on global threats earlier this year, Senator John McCain of Arizona, the panel’s chairman, noted “the current international environment is more complex and dangerous than at any time in recent memory.”
Here are just a few of the top current and future threats facing America and its partner nations — and the likely challenges they pose to integrated air and missile defense:
Russia – The new chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford and Air Force General Paul Selva – say Russia is the greatest threat to national security because of its nuclear and ballistic missile capability – second only to the U.S. arsenal. Moscow’s bullying tactics towards western neighbors – especially former Warsaw Pact members like Poland and the Baltic states that are now NATO members, is creating tensions in Europe not seen since the Cold War ended. Moscow’s deployment of tanks and combat aircraft have policy makers around the globe wondering what’s next?
Russia has made significant progress modernizing its nuclear and conventional forces and developing long range precision strike capabilities, notes Marine Corps Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart , director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). “In the next year, Russia will field more road-mobile SS-27 Mod-2 ICBMs with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles,” he told Congress, adding that development of the RS-26 ballistic missile, the Dolgorukiy ballistic missile submarine and next generation air- and ground-launched cruise missiles will continue.
China – Beijing continues an unprecedented buildup of army, naval and air forces to protect what it sees as its territorial integrity and sovereignty, including Taiwan and a number of islands in the South China Sea, where overlapping claims with at least five other countries — some of them U.S. allies — remain a potential flashpoint. China continues to produce JIN-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, and sub-launched ballistic missiles. It has 50-60 ICBMs, according to the DIA, and is adding more survivable road-mobile launch systems, enhancing its silo-based systems and developing a sea-based nuclear deterrent.
China continues to deploy growing numbers of the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, which could limit U.S. force projection in Asian waters. And China is developing a tiered ballistic missile defense system. The People’s Liberation Army is augmenting more than 1,200 conventional short-range ballistic missiles.
Proliferation – “Nation states’ efforts to develop or acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems or their underlying technologies constitute a major threat to the security of the United States,” according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Among the likely suspects he told a Senate hearing earlier this year: Iran for its continuing quest to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons,. Klapper noted that Tehran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East.
North Korea has exported ballistic missiles and other materials to several countries including Iran and Syria. “Today, nine nations possess, or are suspected of possessing, nuclear weapons and 22 have ballistic missile capabilities,” says Lieutenant General David Mann, commander of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Army Forces Strategic Command.
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The threats these developments pose will be among the topics discussed next week at the Integrated Air and Missile Defense conference in Arlington, Virginia. The three day event, hosted by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA), runs from September 28-30.
President Barack Obama has unveiled his administration’s new defense strategy — emphasizing the growing importance of the Asia-Pacific region and the need to reduce the size of U.S. ground forces after years of war and economic constraints.
Accompanied by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Gen. Martin Dempsey – the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – and other Defense Department officials, Obama told a Pentagon press briefing that the shift in focus was necessary to meet congressionally-mandated budget cuts and potential threats from potential opponents like China, Iran and North Korea.
Panetta called the change “a historic shift to the future,” adding that the U.S. faces “a complex and growing array of security challenges across the globe.”h
No specifics on what programs or military units would be cut were given at the briefing. Officials noted those details will be made public when the Defense Department unveils its 2013 budget request next month.
But Obama said the U.S. intends to strengthen its presence in the Asia-Pacific region and remain “vigilant” in the Middle East. Following the recommendations of a recently completed defense strategy review, the military will reduce the size of its ground forces – the Army and Marine Corps – and get rid of “outdated” Cold War technologies, Obama said, adding that while conventional ground forces will be smaller, they will also be agile, flexible “and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats.”
The 2012 defense bill recently signed into law authorizes $662 billion for defense spending. The Pentagon has already planned more than $450 billion in spending cuts over the next decade. Billions more in across-the-board cuts remains a lingering threat if Congress can’t work out a way to trim $1 trillion from the federal budget deficit in the next year.
Obama said the growth of the defense budget will slow but it will still be larger than it was at the end of the previous administration of President George Bush. While spending cuts will be necessary for some programs, officials acknowledged, they said more spending is likely for unmanned systems and other technologies that can deliver intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. Special Operations Forces, cybersecurity and cyberwarfare as well as programs to counter terrorism, insurgency and weapons of mass destruction also will be emphasized and presumably better funded.
In Africa and Latin America, Pentagon officials said the U.S. will continue to focus on training missions with small technical units, foreign military sales and joint exercises with partners in the region as a way to maintain security and stability without a large U.S. military footprint.