North Korea continues to prepare for a flight test of their Taepo Dong II-class intercontinental ballistic missile, with a range that could potential reach targets within the continental United States. North Korea also almost certainly possesses multiple nuclear warheads which could be mounted on these missiles.
The United States needs to continue to develop a wide-spectrum anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defense technology from boost-phase defenses like modified Aegis-class cruisers and airborne lasers to space-based interceptor technologies. The North Korean regime is too dangerous to be allowed to utilize such weapons against the United States or its allies.
Thankfully, President Bush made the decision in 2001 to scrap the 1972 ABM Treaty and pursue the development of these technologies. President Bush did so in full accordance with the conditions of that treaty, and it is a very good thing he did. Terrorism isn’t the only threat this country faces, and ignoring the very real threat of an attack with ballistic missiles would be a grave omission.
I agree with Captain Ed on this one, North Korea’s test gives us an opportunity to test our ABM systems in operation. The United States should warn the North Koreans that any ballistic missile leaving their territory will be intercepted and destroyed. The threat to Los Angeles, Seoul, or Tokyo is simply too great to ignore. If we don’t have such technologies yet, this should only highlight the need to develop them – as Michael Ledeen is known to say, “faster please.”