The 44th and final U.S. ground-based missile interceptor has been deployed at Fort Greely, Alaska. The interceptors are designed to protect the United States from ICBMs launched by Iran or North Korea. “[Missile Defense Agency] and Boeing emplaced the 44th interceptor in its silo at the Missile Defense Complex at Ft. Greely on Thursday, Nov. 2,” the agency said in a statement. The MDA had initially planned to have all 44 interceptors in place by the end of this year, so the deployment was on schedule. In May an interceptor was successfully launched against a test ICBM, completely destroying it. Analyst comment: Literally, this system is designed for the one-off or possibly two ICBMs that may be fired by small powers like North Korea and Iran whose missile and nuclear weapons programs are nascent, though Pyongyang is ahead of Tehran in its development. It is questionable whether the system would be very effective against the kind of sophisticated ICBMs with their decoys and other spoofing technology fired by Russia or China.
Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.