Defending the U.S. from North Korean Long Range Missiles

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North Korea’s successful launch of the road-mobile intermediate range Hwasong-12 missile on Sunday yet again demonstrated the Kim Jong-un regime’s perseverance and improving technical acumen in developing ballistic missiles that can carry nuclear warheads. The missile had a 30-minute flight time and reached an altitude of more than 1300 miles.

Though the missile was launched at a steep trajectory for testing purposes, experts say a shallower one would allow the missile to reach the United States’ Andersen Air Force Base on Guam. If North Korea develops a missile that can reach the U.S. homeland, and former CIA acting director and Cipher Brief expert Michael Morell says we should assume they can, then what defensive options are available to the United States? In reality there is only one: the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system (GMD).

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