Last month, Secretary Mattis and his counterparts from across the Americas met in Mexico City for The Conference of Defense Ministers of the Americas to discuss shared regional defense challenges. The event was especially important for North American defense cooperation between the United States, Canada and Mexico.  Secretary Mattis noted ...

“Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii . . . this is not a drill.” Now that we know what it feels like for Hawaii to be under ballistic missile attack, perhaps it’s a good time to ask how well the island is actually defended from such an attack. It’s a ...

Defense Secretary James Mattis on June 14 gave Congress an update on the 2017 Nuclear Posture Review, saying, “We’re looking at each leg of the triad and we’re looking at each weapon inside each leg.” “What I’m looking for,” he said, “is a deterrent that will be most compelling to ...

Among the three legs of the triad, the U.S. Navy’s ballistic missile submarines are the most survivable and the hardest to detect. Their advanced nuclear propulsion and sound-dampening technology allow them to sail silently anywhere in the world. However, the current fleet of Ohio Class submarines is nearing the end ...

The only remaining U.S. ICBM, the Minuteman III, entered service in 1970. While upgrades have extended the life of the Minuteman III program, the missiles themselves, silos, and command and control systems are all in need of modernization. The Air Force’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program will replace these missiles ...

Relations between the United States and North Korea hit a new low following Pyongyang’s test of an ICBM July 4. With a range of up to 5,000 miles – capable of reaching Alaska – the Hwasong-14 is North Korea’s longest-range missile to date, and its successful test is a direct ...

In May, the U.S. Ground-based Midcourse Defense system - the GMD - successfully intercepted a mock ICBM in a critical test of the U.S. missile defense umbrella. Given the growing threat of the development of a North Korean ICBM capable of reaching the United States, this is excellent news. However, ...

The Pentagon’s missile defense review is now underway, incorporating mandates from both the White House and Congress. One of its considerations, at presidential direction, is whether there should be a relative “rebalancing” between homeland and regional missile defense. Regional defense has received a relatively greater share of the Missile Defense ...

An effective space-based sensor network is a critical component of the U.S. ballistic missile defense system. The better the data the missile defense system has, the more likely it is to successfully intercept incoming missiles. Data is the backbone of the ballistic missile defense architecture, and that is why investments ...

Editor’s Note: The North Korean test on Tuesday of what is believed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile, capable of hitting Alaska, has the U.S. and the rest of the international community grappling with what to do to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear program. On June 6, Walter Pincus, in his Fine ...

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) performed a successful test of the Ground-based Missile Defense (GMD) system on Tuesday. This was the first test of the GMD that simulated the intercept of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The GMD is the United States’ only system that can defend against long-range ...

In the late 1990s, the United States returned to the idea of building a system that could defend the homeland from long-range missiles launched by North Korea, Iran, or any other adversary. The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program has been under development for two decades. In that time, the program ...

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. ...

For decades, North Korea’s continued advancements in ballistic missile technology has sustained U.S. interest in missile defense that can protect the U.S. homeland from nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles. The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system is the Pentagon’s solution for targeting and destroying long-range missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. Though ...

Imagine the middle of nowhere Alaska. Got that in your head? Great. Now drive 2½  hours further into nowhere and you have arrived at Fort Greeley. I visited in the fall of 2015. It was cold out there—a wet, bitter cold.  It’s also slightly eerie. The absolutely enormous ravens all ...

The military called it Operation Bumblebee: a secret program to develop a weapon that – like the insect – could take off vertically, change directions instantly, and deliver a painful sting. Born in the years after World War II, the U.S. Navy program aimed to create a missile that could ...

The defense authorization act signed into law in December 2016 contained an important provision mandating a review of missile defeat policy, strategy, and capability, to be completed and submitted to Congress in January 2018. This Missile Defeat Review (MDR) appears likely to serve as a successor to both the Department ...

Despite UN resolutions and international opposition, North Korea test-launched four intermediate range ballistic missiles on Monday that reached within 200 miles of Japan. The test demonstrates not only Pyongyang’s disregard for more sanctions, but also its progress in missile technology. Besides North Korea, Russia, China, and Iran have also devoted ...

North Korea’s latest test on Sunday of a nuclear capable Pukguksong-2 intermediate range ballistic missile displayed its inexorable advance in acquiring missile technology.  The test disrupted a dinner between President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and has earned North Korea further rebuke not only from the United ...

The United States relies on missile defense systems to protect its allies and its troops stationed all around the world. Yet in some instances, the deployment of such systems is a strain on regional stability. The Cipher Brief spoke to Philip Coyle, a senior science fellow at the Center for ...

North Korea’s missile test on Sunday reaffirmed the case for greater missile defense in South Korea, but it did nothing to change China’s perspective on the matter. Beijing believes that any U.S. missile defense in South Korea would undermine its strategic nuclear deterrent, and therefore its national security. The U.S. ...

North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile this weekend, marking Pyongyang’s first provocation since President Donald Trump took office. The test coincided with Trump hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his Palm Beach estate and club Mar-a-Lago. The pair turned their dinner into an open-air strategy session, and then ...

What could possibly make the F-35 an even more advanced jet fighter? Lasers, according to the U.S. Air Force. The USAF plans, which would put the system into service sometime in the 2020s, will have to clear the same hurdles that have plagued all directed-energy weapons. These weapons have always ...

The size of the army matters—but technology wins wars. At the height of the Roman Empire, Roman Legions armed with arrows, long-staffs, and shields devastated the more numerous but ill-equipped barbarian hordes. In 1914, employing tanks and automatic weapons, the German army rolled across Europe, dominating the cavalry and breech-loaded ...

Directed-energy weapons have been an ambition of militaries across the world, since Archimedes focused the sun to set fire to Roman ships in 212 B.C. What was once considered a science project is now a necessity, and our continued military superiority depends on the outcome. Why? Our adversaries have made ...

Over the next few years, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) plans to demonstrate two air-launched hypersonic weapons (HSW) concepts; the Turbo Boost Glide and the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapons Concept. These systems, though not weapons themselves, should generate a great deal of information on the operating conditions for weapon-sized air vehicles in hypersonic flight (Mach ...

Iran has deployed a Russian-made air defense system around its underground Fordow nuclear facility, state media reported this week. Given the timing of the announcement, it’s a move that can be seen as a political effort by the regime’s leadership to try to maintain an “atmosphere of alarm” domestically to ...

Future prosperity, security, even the realization of its full nationhood all depend on South Korea’s relationship with the isolated, rigid, fellow Korean nation to the north.  North Korea may cooperate with the South for enhanced security and economic and development advances, but it will not accept anything that suggests surrender ...

In the aftermath of the North Korean nuclear weapon test in January and its satellite launch/ICBM test in February, the United States and South Korea announced that they would begin formal talks on deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in South Korea. The THAAD System  THAAD would join ...

In the wake of a 4th nuclear test, a satellite launch, and, most recently, a KCNA film portraying a North Korean ICBM striking Washington, DC, the question has been raised yet again about whether the U.S. is doing enough to curb North Korean provocations. While the notion that North Korean ...