Trump announces expansion of US missile system in face of rivals’ threats

President Donald Trump delivers a speech at the Pentagon on Jan. 17, 2019. EFE-EPA/ Martin H. Simon /**POOL**

President Donald Trump delivers a speech at the Pentagon on Jan. 17, 2019. EFE-EPA/ Martin H. Simon /**POOL**


President Donald Trump on Thursday announced his new strategy to expand and modernize the US anti-missile defense system given that Washington’s adversaries, among whom he listed North Korea and Iran, are increasing their capacity to mount lethal attacks on this country.

Saying that his first obligation is to defend the US, Trump - a speech delivered at the Pentagon - said that the US has the world’s best weapons and that US military capabilities are “unrivaled.”

The unclassified Pentagon report, released simultaneously with Trump’s speech, stresses the need for a “comprehensive approach to missile defense against rogue state and regional missile threats” and calls for the development and addition of new technologies to its overall system.

“Our goal is simple, to ensure that we can detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States anywhere, anytime, anyplace,” Trump said.

“I will accept nothing less for our nation than the most effective cutting edge missile defense systems,” he later added.

The president said that he will deploy 20 new ground-based interceptors at Fort Greely, Alaska, bringing the total number to 64, so that - using radar detection - “We will shield every city in the United States, and we will never negotiate away our right to do that.”

He noted that “the world is changing and will change much faster” and said that the US will develop and employ new technology to deal with this situation, adding that “the U.S. will now adjust its posture” to defend against a wide array of missile attacks, including cruise missiles and hypersonic weaponry.

Trump added that with the newly inaugurated “space-based missile defense layer” the US will “monitor and we will terminate” missiles launched by “hostile powers” or those launched by other nations “by mistake.”

The current review of the US missile system - known as the 2019 Missile Defense Review - is the first in almost a decade and specifically identifies Russia, China, Iran and North Korea as “current and emerging missile threats to the American homeland.”