What should the United States and its allies do to improve their ability to stop North Korean missiles?
Enhanced missile defense performance would be the best guarantee against a North Korean breakout. Should fighting occur, missile defense performance will determine how much of a time cushion is available to U.S. and allied offensive forces to eliminate the North’s missiles.
North Korea’s missile testing program has shown capabilities that make our missile defense more difficult. For example, by extending tests to orbit and extending the range of their ICBMs, they have expanded the scope of trajectories and targets we need to defend. By using lofted trajectories, the North has increased re-entry velocity and reduced time for defense. By building mobile launchers and submarine-launched missiles, North Korea has eliminated the defenders’ early warning time and reduced its own exposure.