U.S. Missile Defense Plans Will Raise Korea Tensions, Warns China

Photo Credit: Ahn Young-joon

President Obama’s decision to deploy additional missile interceptors at Alaska’s Fort Greely reverses a decision he made in 2009 to scale back the number of active silos approved by President George W. Bush to blunt long-range nukes.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Friday announced that the U.S. will deploy 14 additional ground-based missile interceptors at Fort Greely to address threats of a “pre-emptive” nuclear strike from North Korea.

The number of interceptors on the West Coast will increase from 30 to 44 by 2017, as proposed by the Bush administration.

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said the increase will cost an extra $200 million to reopen mothballed silos, citing a Pentagon estimate.

“Four years ago, the administration determined that the missile threat from countries like North Korea had changed, and, parting with established policy, decided to eliminate missiles from the proposed inventory and mothball the missile field built to house them,” Mr. McKeon, California Republican, said Friday. “At the time, House Republicans disputed the change in the threat and pressed the administration not to … close down vital infrastructure.”

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