White House Directing Ballistic Missile Defense Review

The White House is planning a review of the nation’s ballistic missile defense, in addition to its nuclear posture review, the chief of US Strategic Command said Tuesday. STRATCOM Commander Gen. John Hyten, at the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the review has not begun yet and will likely be based on specific recommendations from the Missile Defense Agency. Hyten said he hopes in the future to see a reliable kill vehicle, with better sensors and a space-based layer with additional capacity to protect the US. The review comes as North Korea continues its series of ballistic missile tests. Though North Korea is not an “existential threat” to the US, it still is a dangerous presence in the Pacific. “Pyongyang’s evolving ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program underscore the growing threat,” Hyten said in prepared testimony. “It continues to defy international norms and resolutions, as demonstrated by a number of provocative actions this past year, including their fourth and fifth nuclear tests.” Hyten’s comments came as North Korea conducted another ballistic missile test. US Pacific Command said in a statement Tuesday night it detected a missile launch at about 11:40 a.m. Hawaii time, with the missile landing in the Sea of Japan about ten minutes later. The command initially assesses it was a test of a KN-15 medium range missile.