Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is set to announce that the United States will beef up its missile defense system in response to nuclear attack threats from North Korea, Reuters and CNN are reporting quoting an unnamed “defense official.”
CNN reports Hagel will say that the U.S. will deploy “14 additional ground-based missile interceptors on the U.S. West Coast.” Reuters reports the U.S. will bolster its missile defense in Alaska.
As we’ve reported, this has been a week of “inflamed rhetoric from North Korea,” which has unilaterally scrapped the 1953 armistice that ended open warfare on the peninsula and threatened a preemptive nuclear strike on the U.S.
Scott wrote a piece over the weekend that tries to gauge the credibility of North Korea’s threats. The bottom line: Its conventional weapons are woefully out of date, but we know little about its nuclear capabilities.
Said Victor Cha, the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies:
“The bottom line is that we just don’t know where Pyongyang’s capabilities lie. These tests might represent lighter and smaller weapons.
“The North could be lying about that, but then again, maybe they aren’t.”
George Little, the Pentagon spokesman, tweeted that Hagel would “make missile defense announcement this afternoon at the Pentagon.” That announcement is scheduled for 3 p.m.