The planned expansion of the U.S. missile defense shield to guard against potential threats from North Korea and other nations will cost $5.8 billion over the coming years, according to an estimate released this week.
The estimate was made by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in response to a question from Jeff Sessions, a Republican senator for Alabama and a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Strategic Forces. They examine the cost of the system over the last few years and its likely cost over the coming five years.
It reveals that the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program has cost just under $9 More >
The shooting down of MH17 over Ukraine has raised awareness of a series of restrictions the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has placed on aircraft operating around the world, including over North Korea.
North Korean airspace extends well beyond the land borders of the country to include a large portion of the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and, to a lesser extent, a region over the Yellow Sea (West Sea.) It’s called the Pyongyang FIR (flight information region) and is shown in the map below.
The FAA regulations date back to April 1997, when North Korea began allowing foreign airlines to fly through its airspace. That included U.S. carriers, but More >
The United States and several other nations have written to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) over North Korea’s failure to notify it of missile launches.
Over the past couple of weeks, short and medium-range missile have been fired by North Korea into the sea to the east of the country on a handful of occasions. Each launch took place without a standard warning to air and ship traffic.
“On July 8, the U.S. co-signed a letter to the president of ICAO expressing concern with the serious threat posed to international aviation posed by More >
A U.S. interceptor missile system designed to deter and defend against missiles from North Korea and other nations will take a step forward this week when the U.S. Missile Defense Agency kicks off work on environmental impact statements on four proposed sites.
On Wednesday, the MDA is expected to publish a notice informing residents in nearby neighborhoods of the start of a 60-day comment period that begins the process. The entire study is expected to take about two years and are intended to assess the environmental impact that the proposed missile defense bases will have to local land, water, air quality and other factors.
The sites are More >
Japanese Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel sure are getting along well.
The two met with reporters at The Pentagon on Friday afternoon as part of Onodera’s current visit to the U.S. and spent the first five minutes of their 25-minute briefing talking about Onodera’s trip to Hagel’s home state of Nebraska and his alma-mater, the University of Nebraska. Hagel then spoke of a pair of waterproof headphones he had received from Onodera at a previous meeting (Sony, as Onodera later mentioned) and gave him a University of Nebraska tennis shirt.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry took the opportunity of a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to push the Chinese government to do a little more to enforce sanctions against North Korea.
Speaking at a joint news conference after the meeting, Kerry said they discussed “the importance of enforcing UN Security Council resolutions that impose sanctions on North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.”
Here’s the relevant video:
Later Thursday at the State Dept.’s daily briefing, spokeswoman Jen Psaki was asked if the discussion meant China has agreed to carry out enforcement of sanctions with a little more conviction More >
The U.S. government said Wednesday that it is concerned about a fourth round of missile launched by North Korea, in part because the country didn’t notify shipping and aviation traffic of its plans.
Speaking at a scheduled news conference, State Dept. Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters the launches won’t bring security to the DPRK.
“We once again note with concern North Korea’s apparent failure to provide prior notification to merchant ships, fishing vessels, and passenger and cargo aircraft in the vicinity, despite international provisions to do so,” she said. “We once again urge North Korea to refrain from taking provocative actions, and More >
North Korea has roughly doubled the number of hackers it employs to conduct cyber-attacks, South Korea’s Yonhap News said on Sunday.
The news agency quoted an unidentified military source as saying North Korea “appears to have” 5,900 personnel for cyber-warfare, up from about 3,000 people two years ago.
Yonhap didn’t disclose how its source had access to the current information.
The South Korean government often uses anonymous leaks to put intelligence regarding North Korea into the public domain. It sometimes uses similar leaks to disclose false or unverified information for political purposes.
The U.S. Air Force didn’t waste much time in putting into use two high-tech drones that it moved from Guam to Japan earlier this month.
The drones arrived at Misawa Air Base in northern Japan on May 24 and the first operational mission was flown on June 6, according to information released Friday by the U.S. Air Force.
Precise details of the mission or its destination were not disclosed, but from their base in Misawa the drones are much closer to North Korea and so can spend longer flying over the country if needed.
The U.S. Air Force’s 35th Fighter Wing said weather on June More >
The U.S. Air Force’s Global Hawk drone landed in Japan for the first time on Saturday.
The aircraft is one of the most advanced unmanned craft in the world and is typically used for surveillance and eavesdropping missions from its perch at around 60,000 feet — well above the level of commercial aircraft but lower than the maximum altitude of the U2 spy plane.
Usually based at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, the Global Hawk landed at Misawa Air Base in northern Japan on Thursday, May 24, as part of a bilateral deal with Japan signed by U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in October last year. More >