Thu | Apr 25, 2019

Trump says US will develop space-based missile defense

Published:Thursday | January 17, 2019 | 3:31 PM
AP photo

WASHINGTON (AP) — Declaring that space is the new warfighting domain, President Donald Trump on Thursday vowed the U.S. will develop an unrivalled missile defense system to protect against advanced hypersonic and cruise missile threats from competitors and adversaries.

Trump said in a Pentagon speech that the U.S. will do what it takes “to ensure that we can detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States anywhere, any time, any place.”

Trump did not mention Russia, China or North Korea in his roughly 20-minute speech.

But the Pentagon’s new strategy makes clear that its plan for a more aggressive space-based missile defense system is aimed at protecting against existing threats from North Korea and Iran and countering advanced weapon systems being developed by Russia and China.

The new review is the first since 2010, and it concludes that to adequately protect America, the Pentagon must expand defense technologies in space and use those systems to more quickly detect, track and ultimately defeat incoming missiles.

Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan, who also spoke, said competitors such as Russia and China are aggressively pursuing new missiles that are harder to see, harder to track and harder to defeat.

Specifically, the U.S. is looking at putting a layer of sensors in space to more quickly detect enemy missiles when they are launched, according to a senior administration official, who briefed reporters Wednesday.

The U.S. sees space as a critical area for advanced, next-generation capabilities to stay ahead of the threats, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose details of the review before it was released.

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