Mis­sile threats

The Washington Times Weekly - - National Security -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.