In a shocking annual report, the Pentagon’s weapons testing office said that the U.S. has a “limited capability” to defend itself from missiles launched by hostile countries like Iran and North Korea.
According to Bloomberg, the $36 billion missile defense system the U.S. has in place “can’t be counted on” due to a “lack of ground tests.”
Laura Grego, a missile defense analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote in a July 2016 report that since the system was put in place it “has destroyed its target fewer than half the 17 times it has been tested, and its record is not improving over time.”
The network of radar and communications combined with missiles based in California and Alaska has demonstrated only a “limited capability to defend the U.S. homeland from small numbers of simple” intercontinental ballistic missiles, the testing office said in its latest annual report.
The probability that the U.S. would succeed in intercepting an incoming missile can’t be quantified with any precision “due to a lack of ground tests” supported by verified “modeling and simulation,” according to an advance copy of the assessment provided late Monday to congressional defense committees and Pentagon officials.
Despite the findings in the report, Vice Admiral James Syring, director of the missile defense agency, said he is “very confident in the systems and procedures” the U.S. has in place to “intercept a North Korean ICBM were they to shoot it toward our territory.”
The findings in this report are alarming since North Korea declared Sunday that they can test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at any time and from any location that leader Kim Jong Un wants.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter responded to this threat on Sunday, saying the United States is prepared to shoot down a North Korean missile launch if it “were coming toward our territory or the territory of our friends and allies.”
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