Pentagon Official Discusses Steps To Deter, Defeat Missile Threats


By David Vergun

A Defense Department leader detailed missile threats from adversaries and addressed DOD countermeasure steps during testimony, Tuesday, at the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.  

Over the past year, China has continued to develop, test and field advanced missile systems of all classes and ranges. It also launched ballistic missiles in unsuccessful attempts to intimidate and demonstrate a capability to forcefully unify with Taiwan, said John D. Hill, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Space and Missile Defense. 

Russia launched thousands of missile strikes in Ukraine to terrorize the Ukrainian people and degrade Ukraine’s warfighting capability, he said. 

Iran launched missile attacks into neighboring states and provided rockets and unmanned aerial systems to non-state actors, who in turn use them to target U.S. forces and partners, Hill said. 

North Korea showcased an array of missile systems, including 11 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and it conducted yet another ICBM test just last week, he said. 

To stay ahead of the threat from North Korea, the department is making improvements to its ground-based midcourse defense system as part of a comprehensive missile defeat approach, he said. 

“Missile defense is a notable element of our $35 billion of support to Ukraine since Russia’s further invasion last year. Ukraine endures today as a sovereign and free nation in large part because it made air and missile defense top priorities as it leveraged extensive assistance from the United States, our NATO allies and many others,” Hill said. 

International missile defense cooperation includes developing testing and training with allies and partners around the world and supporting them through sales of equipment, he said. 

“Missiles have become foundational to our adversaries’ way of war and missile defense has become foundational to integrated deterrence and defense of the nation. To that end, the best thing Congress can do to support the warfighter is pass on time the Defense and Military Construction Appropriations Act,” he said.  

Hill detailed the spending request: 

  • To defend our homeland, $3.3 billion to improve Ground-based Midcourse Defense, including $2.2 billion for the Next Generation Interceptor.  
  • $1.5 billion for the defense of Guam, an increase of over $600 million compared to last year’s request. 
  • $64 million to improve the defense of Hawaii through investments in air surveillance and other capabilities. 
  • $423 million to continue fielding over-the-horizon radars. 
  • Nearly $5 billion for modernizing space capabilities with new missile warning, missile tracking and next generation overhead persistent infrared architectures. 
  • $259 million for hypersonic missile defense sensors and development of the glide phase interceptor. 
  • $2.2 billion for the Standard Missile 3, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and Patriot PAC-3 interceptors. 
  • $1.5 billion to counter lower tier missile threats. 
  • $308 million for directed energy development.  

Navy Vice Adm. Jon A. Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency; Army Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, commander of the Army Space and Missile Defense Command; and Space Force Maj. Gen. David Miller, director of operations of the U.S. Space Command, also testified.

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