North Korea’s claimed test of a hydrogen bomb should put to rest any lingering hope that containment or negotiations can protect us from the world’s most erratic rogue state. At this point, the only responsible path is to build up our defenses so North Korea cannot threaten our cities no matter how many bombs and missiles it builds.
Fortunately, our military has been preparing for this day. It has already deployed a highly effective ballistic missile defense called “GMD” that can track and shoot down an attacking missile from North Korea or other rogue states like Iran. Based at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, GMD has approximately 30 interceptor missiles ready in their silos.
Our leaders must recommit to improving and expanding this system, with more advanced sensors and detectors to ensure it can tell the difference between decoy missiles and a real attack.
The interceptor “kill vehicle” that collides with the incoming missile should be modernized, and more should be deployed. Sustained rigorous “combat realistic” testing must be funded to ensure 100-percent readiness for a mission where failure truly is not an option.
There is no putting the North Korean nuclear genie back in the bottle — we must do everything possible to defend against this rising threat.
Anthony T. Hawkins, national coordinator, Congressional Black Caucus