U.S. to Boost Anti-Missile 'Capabilities' in Korea

  • By Yu Yong-weon, Kim Jin-myung

    March 12, 2021 10:35

    U.S. Forces Korea Commander Robert Abrams on Wednesday claimed the U.S. is going to deploy more anti-ballistic missile "capabilities" in South Korea this year.

    Abrams said in a virtual hearing of the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services the U.S.' Missile Defense Agency is building "three specific" capabilities, and one of them is already deployed in South Korea. "The other two will come on board this year. That will significantly enhance our ballistic missile defense," he added.

    Robert Abrams

    Abrams currently leads a computer-simulated joint command post exercise here.

    Asked by Republican congressman Michael Turner about missile defense against threats from North Korea, he said there are already combined "capabilities" between South Korea and the U.S. He said that the USFK has benefited from congressional support for "joint emergent operational needs" for a few years now and the MDA is in the process of building more.

    But he was oddly coy about what these capabilities are. The South Korean Defense Ministry seemed stumped, saying only it is trying to "confirm" what he meant but dismissing speculation that they are new weapons.

    Pundits said perhaps Abrams was talking about a three-phase plan to enhance the U.S.' Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery that is already here.

    The upgrade focuses on improving remote control of THAAD launch pads, remote launch of Patriot missiles using the THAAD radar, and combined operation of THAAD and Patriot missile launch pad.

    It has been in the works since then-USFK Commander Vincent Brooks recommended it to the Pentagon in 2017 but has been hampered by a protest blockade that makes the THAAD site effectively inaccessible except by helicopter.

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