Fort Bliss to deploy a battery to Guam in light of North Korean threats
POSTED: Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 9:10pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 5, 2013 - 12:21pm
"The moment of explosion is approaching fast" -- that was just one of many recent provocative statements made by North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un against the United States.
But American officials aren't taking threats from the rogue nation lightly. The Department of Defense, as well as Fort Bliss, will deploy a special interceptor to an American base in Guam in the coming weeks as "a precautionary move to strengthen our regional defense posture against the North Korean regional ballistic missile threat."
"Guam is close enough for an anti-missile battery to be deployed. I mean, these missiles are basically missiles that are used to knock out missiles," said Dr. Gaspare Genna, International Relations expert and professor at UTEP.
It's called "THAAD," or the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System, which is a land-based missile defense technology that includes a truck-mounted launcher that intercepts enemy missiles.
Major Joe Buccino of Fort Bliss says THAAD has successfully been used 11 times before in training, but this is the first time the technology is being deployed for use abroad.
"The units here on Fort Bliss are prepared for any contingency. We are regional aligned under central command. You know, globally connected. We're an expeditionary force so we're really deployable anywhere around the world for any contingency," said Major Buccino.
But could North Korea's dangerous rhetoric turn in to a real threat against the US?
"As far as a threat to the actual continental United States or Hawaii, I don't think that that's real," said Professor Genna.
Experts say the immediate threat would be to US allies in East Asia, like Tokyo or Seoul, because North Korea simply does not yet have the technology to fire missiles as far as to reach the United States.
"Some of the actions they've taken over the last few weeks, present a real and clear danger and threat to the interests of certainly our allies," said US Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel.