Quote:The Pentagon is beefing up West Coast missile defenses in response to escalating threats of attack from nuclear-equipped North Korea, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Friday.
The move counters North Korea’s threat of a unprovoked nuclear attack on the United States, even though the administration says the Stalinist regime is still years away from having the capacity to launch such an assault on the continental United States. North Korea has made significant improvements in its long-range missile technology, and has successfully launched a missile test in space, making the additional protection a prudent precaution, Hagel said.
Hagel said he will order 14 additional missile interceptors for California and Alaska, a roughly 50 percent increase over the existing number of interceptors. That represents a policy shift for the Obama administration, which had shelved earlier plans to expand the mainland defense system.
The plans were “dusted off” as North Korea’s capabilities and rhetoric appeared more dangerous, according to a defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the move.
The current ground-based system, in place since 2004, has 26 interceptors in Alaska and four in California. The missiles are designed to explode the warheads in flight.
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/nati...story.html