The U.S. Defense Department will add 14 interceptor missiles on its west-coast missile defense system after growing verbal threats from North Korea.
The decision comes at a time when the Pentagon is under severe pressure to cut spending. It plans to raise the necessary US$1 billion by cutting back on its European missile defense against a putative attack from Iran.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Friday told reporters, "First, we will strengthen homeland missile defense by deploying 14 additional ground-based interceptors, GBIs, at Fort Greely, Alaska [by 2017]. That will increase the number of deployed GBIs from 30 to 44, including the four GBIs at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. These additional GBIs will provide a nearly 50 percent increase in our missile defense capability."
The second step with the support of Japan envisages deploying an additional radar in Japan. "This second TPY-2 or tippy-two radar will provide improved early warning and tracking of any missile launched from North Korea at the United States or Japan," he added.
The Pentagon will also revamp its SM-3 Aegis missile program to provide ship-based missile defense against North Korean missiles, he said.