10 March 2014
Washington (XNA) - The United States will continue developing technology and equipment against growing ballistic missile threats around the world, a senior defense official said Tuesday.
Besides the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Iran, an increasing number of nations are testing ballistic missiles, said Navy Vice Adm. James Syring, director of the U.S. Defense Department's Missile Defense Agency.
"And the capability of these ballistic missiles is increasing as well," he told the Defense Technologies and Requirements Conference, adding that his agency has briefed the U.S. Congress on the threats the United States faces.
He said the DPRK's demonstration of its ability to put a payload into space "means something," and continues to develop.
Syring detailed the agency's ballistic missile defense ship fleet, the Patriot system, ground-based interceptors, Standard Missile-3s, the Terminal High Altitude Aerial Defense System and Sea-based Terminal Defense.
He said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's recent budget preview will support strengthening homeland defense.
This includes deploying an additional 14 interceptors at Fort Greeley, Alaska, which will be fielded before the end of 2017.
The official noted that his agency is also planning to deploy an additional radar in Japan's Kyogamisaki air defense base.
He also talked about a new ground-based interceptor site in one of four potential locations, and said the environmental impact statement process is ongoing for the potential sites.
Officials will focus on those four sites over the next 24 months, Syring said, and develop a contingency plan from a schedule cost and technical standpoint for building a site at any of the four locations.
"We are taking these steps to stay ahead of the challenges posed by Iran and the DPRK in terms of what they're doing with the longer-range ballistic missile defense capability," he added.
Xinhua News Agency