THAAD Deployment Begins in South Korea

The deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system on the Korean Peninsula officially began Monday as the first components of the system landed at Osan AB, South Korea. Video posted by US Forces-Korea showed a C-17 landing at night at Osan, and offloading two trucks as the “first elements” of the system. “The timely deployment of the THAAD system by US Pacific Command and the Secretary of Defense gives my command great confidence in the support we will receive when we ask for reinforcement or advanced capabilities,” US Forces Korea Commander Gen. Vincent Brooks said in a news release. The deployment came the same day as North Korea launched four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, the latest in a series of provocative actions by that country. Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday spoke with Japanese Minister of Defense Tomomi Inada, where they agreed “that these launches are an unacceptable and irresponsible act” that undermines stability in the region, according to a Pentagon statement. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has already fired 112 ballistic missiles in his five years of reign—that’s a significant increase from his father, Kim Jong Il, who fired just 34 ballistic missiles over the course of 17 years, Pacific Air Forces boss Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy told reporters at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium last week.