A new report by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) provides fresh data showing the threat from missiles is growing, at the same time the Obama administration is setting caps on the U.S. missile defense program.
The report, “Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat,” reveals new details about the growing threat to the United States posed by the missile programs of Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and other nations.
Since the last NASIC report in 2006, North Korea has deployed two new short-range missiles, a solid-fueled Toksa, with a range of 75 miles; and an extended range Scud missile with a range of up to 625 miles.
North Korea has also deployed close to 50 new intermediaterange missiles with a range of more than 2,000 miles, in addition to just under 50 Nodong missiles, with a range of 800 miles, the report states. The Taepodong-2, with a range of 3,400 miles, is listed as “not-yet-deployed.”
The report said two launches of the Taepodong-2 missile, in 2006 and 2009, both ended in failure, although “the April 2009 flight demonstrated a more complete performance.”
The report said testing the Taepodong-2 shows Pyongyang’s “determination to achieve long-range ballistic missile and space launch capabilities.”
Disclosure of the report comes amid reports that North Korea is planning another Taepodong-2 test.
“The Taepodong-2 could be exported to other countries in the future,” the report said.
Iran also is making progress on long-range missile development, with a new intermediate-range missile in the works. The report cited Iran’s April satellite launch of a missile identified as a Safir that the NASIC stated “can serve as a testbed for long-range ballistic missile technologies.”
The report said China has “the most active and diverse ballistic missile development program in the world,” with seven types of short-range missiles, five types of medium-range missiles; four ICBMs, two submarine-launched missiles and two land-attack cruise missiles.
The report identifies for the first time the range of China’s aircraft carrier-killing missile: The modified CSS-5 medium-range missile can travel 900 miles. Three other modifications of the CSS-5 — two nuclear tipped and one with a conventional warhead — also were disclosed for the first time, all with ranges of more than 1,100 miles.
The report stated that China’s nuclear warhead arsenal is expanding significantly, with the number of ICBM warheads capable of threatening the United States expected to grow to “well over 100 in the next 15 years.”
ICBM levels have increased sharply since the Pentagon’s latest annual report to Congress on the Chinese military was published in March. The Pentagon report listed the deployment of less than 10 each for the new hard-to-locate road mobile DF-31 and DF-31A ICBMs.
The NASIC report, released last week, stated that China has now deployed less than 15 each of the DF-31 and DF-31A.
“In just over two months U.S. intelligence community estimates have China’s ICBMs increasing by 25 percent. That’s a formidable rate of growth,” said Richard Fisher, a specialist on the Chinese military with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.
Overall, the Pentagon report lists China as having 40 landbased missiles capable of reaching the United States, while the NASIC report lists about 50 missiles with that range.
Russia continued to expand its strategic nuclear missile forces, with the report disclosing that the number of 10-warhead SS-18 ICBMs increased from 79 to 104, with a jump of 250 warheads on the SS-18 alone. Other Russian missile developments include development of a new SS-27 variant with multiple warheads and a new hypersonic missile stage “to allow Russian strategic missiles to penetrate missile defense systems.”
The Pentagon recently announced that its next budget includes a cut of $1.5 billion in missile defense funding. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has said the number of ground-based interceptors would be capped at 30. In the past, the Pentagon has said that there was a need for 44 interceptors. bers of the U.S. military contacted Inside the Ring last week to express concerns about the Pentagon and White House response to the killing of an Army recruiter in Little Rock and the wounding of a second private by a Muslim convert, who was reportedly under FBI surveillance.
The attack has been met with relative silence at the Pentagon and White House.
The callers noted, by contrast, that the recent murder of Dr. George Tiller, a doctor who performed late-term abortions, was condemned by President Obama in a White House statement issued on May 31.
Secretary Gates has not said anything about the shooting, which terrorism experts say appears to be a domestic terrorist attack by a “leaderless jihadist.”
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman referred questions about the shooting to the Army, but stated that the murder and wounding of the soldiers was tragic and that appropriate law enforcement agencies are aggressively investigating.
Army Spokesman Wayne Hall confirmed that no senior Army leaders had commented on the attack and referred questions to the Army Recruiting Command. A command spokesman said it was not the job of the Army to “editorialize” about the shooting.
Pvt. William Long, 23, was killed in the shooting attack, and Pvt. 2nd Class Quinton Ezeagwula was also shot during the attack June 1 outside a recruiting center.
Investigators in Little Rock domestic terrorist attack. An FBI statement posted June 3 on the FBI Web site stated that in addition to facing state murder charges, “the FBI is also investigating the incident, which may result in additional federal charges.”
A White House spokesman had no immediate comment. Chilton told defense reporters May 7.
The Pentagon is planning a subunified command for cyber warfare and defenses that is expect to be part of Strategic Command, which also is in charge of nuclear warfare planning and execution.
Gen. Chilton said the main threat to defense computer systems to date has been mainly “espionage type of work” involving the theft of information.
“That’s what’s happening today. Now the semantics of attack versus espionage and intrusion, we can argue about that,” he said.
The four-star general noted that a foreign high-altitude spy plane overflying the country would not be considered an attack on the United States, although as a sovereign state the U.S. government reserves the right to shoot it down.
Violations of sovereignty in cyberspace are difficult questions for the military to address, such as when are cyber and kinetic counterattacks permitted, and Strategic Command is studying how to respond to espionage and computer intrusions “in time of conflict,” Gen. Chilton said.
U.S. Defense Secretar y Rober t Gates peers toward the top of a missile housed underground at For t Greely, Alaska on June 1 during a tour of the U.S. Army base with Sen. Mark Begich, Alaska Democrat. The non-explosive missiles house an exoatmosphereic kill vehicle within them which, once in orbit, intercepts and destroys enemy ballistic missiles.