The head of Northern Command (NORTHCOM) told Congress last week she is “100 percent certain” she can defend the U.S. homeland from a North Korean missile attack.
“I want to assure this committee today that I am confident that I can defend the United States,” said Gen. Lori Robinson, the U.S. Northern Commander, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
She added that Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear tests, which increased last year, “represents the most immediate threat to our homeland, and therefore remains NORTHCOM’s highest priority.”
Robinson is one of a very few U.S. military commanders who would be in the loop to decide how to respond to an incoming missile attack.
Missile interceptors in Alaska and California are capable of shooting down single-warhead missiles from North Korea. But Robinson said the U.S. must nevertheless continue to improve its missile defenses as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un improves his capabilities.
“He hasn’t built up capacity yet,” Robinson testified. “While I’m confident that we can defeat this threat today, it is critical that we continue to improve the ballistic missile defense enterprise, with emphasis on the development of improved sensor networks, combined with interceptor capability and capacity and reliability.”
One senator raised questions about the reliability and capability of U.S. missile defenses after quoting from an American media report claiming they were “a dangerous illusion.”
“I’m 100 percent confident in my ability to defend the United States of America,” Robinson replied. “I think we continue to outpace everybody, and it gives me more and more confidence — continued confidence in our ability to defend the United States.” [source]