Amid complaints of Pacific neglect, efforts are underway to restore funding for a powerful $1.9 billion defensive radar in Hawaii, potentially add two types of defensive missile capability in the Aloha State for North Korean threats and create an “Indo-Pacific Deterrence Initiative ” modeled on a similar European effort.
A deputy assistant secretary of defense recently discussed the advantages of positioning a souped-up Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, battery in Hawaii.
Defense officials previously indicated the state likely would be protected by a new defensive missile co-developed with Japan, the SM-3 Block IIA, as part of an “underlay ” shield that still relies primarily on big ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California.
A test validating the capability of the SM-3 IIA to shoot down a simple intercontinental ballistic missile target planned for the spring was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak but apparently has been rescheduled for the summer.
That test is expected to be conducted at the Pacific Missile Range Facility off Kauai and likely will involve the Pearl Harbor-based destroyer USS John Paul Jones shooting the defensive missile.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, added to a growing call to improve military capability in the Pacific to check China and Russia by proposing legislation chartering an Indo-Pacific Deterrence Initiative.
“Senior officials from both parties, military commanders and international security experts have told us