For the first time, the United States, Japan, and South Korea will hold a joint missile-defense exercise. In June, an Aegis-equipped ship from each nation will jointly practice tracking an imagined North Korean missile launch, CNN reported. US officials have been pushing for greater cooperation between the two allies despite longstanding tensions. Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said Monday the drill will be part of the larger, biennially held Rim of the Pacific exercise (RIMPAC) and is being conducted within the? December 2014 trilateral intelligence-sharing agreement. The exercise, Cook said, “reflects the kind of coordination that we want to have with our allies at an important time right now in terms of security issues in that part of the world.” Earlier in May, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance Frank Rose said Japan and South Korea are both improving their defensive capabilities in light of North Korea’s continued testing of ballistic missiles. He said the US and South Korean governments are exploring the viability of deploying a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system at the earliest possible date in response to the evolving threat.
Adm. Christopher Grady, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and head of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, is pushing a “portfolio” approach to requirements and wants his position to have “more teeth” so he can enforce it.