Missile Defense Agency Director Discusses Threats
Missile Defense Agency
Director Discusses Threats, Capabilities
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C.
Marshall Jr., American Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. – (AFPS)
– March 4, 2014 – The Defense Department’s Missile Defense Agency continues to
develop technology and work with its partners amid growing ballistic missile
threats around the world, the agency’s director said here today.
Navy Vice Adm. James D. Syring discussed the Missile Defense
Agency’s concerns and its interests in improving capability and capacity during
Aviation Week’s Defense Technologies and Requirements Conference. “All you have
to do is read the press over the last week or so,” he said. “You [can] start to
piece together what we’re concerned about, and the threat that is posed by the
increasing ballistic missile threat around the world.”
North Korea and Iran are testing ballistic missiles, he said,
and “the numbers are increasing, and the capability of these ballistic missiles
is increasing as well.”
Syring said he and his predecessors have been focused on this
issue and other emerging capabilities.
He noted that intelligence officials have briefed Congress on
the threats the United States faces. “You heard the testimony over the last
month and what the intelligence estimates are on the ability of Iran to test an
ICBM by 2015,” he said. “We stand by that.”
The admiral said North Korea’s demonstration of its ability
to put a payload into space “means something,” and continues to develop. “The
way I like to talk about this is that many parts of the system architecture are
in place. It’s a matter of increasing the capability and the capacity of the
systems that are part of the network of ballistic missile defense.”
Syring detailed the agency’s ballistic missile defense ship
fleet, the Patriot system, ground-based interceptors, Standard Missile-3s, the
Terminal High Altitude Aerial Defense System and Sea-based Terminal Defense. He
said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s recent budget preview will support
strengthening homeland defense. This includes deploying an additional 14
interceptors at Fort Greeley, Alaska which will be fielded before the end of
2017. “We’re planning to deploy an additional radar in Japan … at the site
called Kyogamisaki,” Syring added. “It’s a Japanese air defense base. I was just
there last week, and it is a perfect site for this radar.” He lauded the
Japanese government for its “forthright” partnership in helping make this happen.
The admiral also talked about a new ground-based interceptor site in one of four
potential locations, and said the environmental impact statement process is
ongoing for the potential sites.
Officials will focus on those four sites over the next 24
months, Syring said, and will develop a contingency plan from a schedule cost
and technical standpoint for building a site at any of the four locations. “We
are taking these steps to stay ahead of the challenges posed by Iran and North
Korea in terms of what they’re doing with the longer-range ballistic missile
Syring said the desire for missile defense is growing in the
Middle East. The United Arab Emirates was the agency’s first discussion in this
regard, and other countries are potentially interested. Syring said the interest
in ballistic missile defense capability is “worldwide,” with many challenges
around the globe. “I’m confident that with our partners we will come together,
and [will] field and answer those calls,” he added.
(Follow Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone
Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallAFPS) :
Navy Vice Adm. James D. Syring
Missile Defense Agency