The threats of missiles from Iran and North Korea have caused the U.S. Missile Defense Agency to begin missile tests that are becoming more and more realistic. The agency said today that it is also working on improving the nation’s cyber-security.
Military warns about North Korea and Iran
According to Reuters (via the Daily Mail), MDA Director Navy Vice Admiral James Syring warned that North Korea now has hundreds of missiles that are capable of reaching U.S. military bases in Japan and South Korea. He also said Iran is speeding up its work on improved missiles as well.
North Korea warned the U.S. as recently as this month that it may resort to merciless strikes. There are also concerns about missiles from Russia amid the rising tension in Ukraine.
The director told a subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee that both Iran and North Korea could advance their missile technologies far enough to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles by the end of this year.
Military budget under consideration
The subcommittee is considering the military’s requested $8.1 billion budget for next year. Syring said they’ve been running more exercises in order to prepare for potential attacks and speeding up the pace of their missile tests. He also said they are running more complex tests while taking steps to cut costs and invest in new technology.
He warned that if lawmakers do not left the current budget caps that are scheduled to begin again in the 2016 fiscal year, they may have to cut two important defense programs. One is the development of a new warhead, and the other is work on a new long-range radar. The MDA director said they need both programs to improve their missile defense system’s capabilities.
Current missile testing plans
Syring said right now they are planning on running 12 flight tests of the multi-layered system this year. The agency has only completed seven tests between October 2013 and now. They are also planning on seven additional tests in the 2016 fiscal year, which starts on Oct. 1.
He added that they’re working with the top weapons tester at the Pentagon and the commanders that run the nation’s missile defense systems. The agency is focusing on keeping the missile defense systems safe from hackers as cyber-attacks increase.
According to Syring, the MDA has finished dozens of complicated tests for the purposes of improving the missile systems’ cyber-defenses. The agency has also been working on protecting the systems from insiders and making sure their suppliers and contractors are improving their cyber-security as well.