Janes features remarks made by Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James Winnefeld at the Atlantic Council’s US and Global Missile Defense conference:

The United States is pushing for closer ballistic missile defence (BMD) co-operation among its allies in Asia as a bulwark against ballistic missile proliferation.

About 6,000 known ballistic missiles of all types exist in the world, excluding those in Russia and China, and the Pentagon views regional BMD as a key means of countering threats from ‘rogue’ states with limited capabilities such as Iran and North Korea, said the Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Sandy Winnefeld.

North Korea is the “closest one to actually achieving the ability to reach the US homeland” with a ballistic missile, Adm Winnefeld told an audience at the Atlantic Council on 28 May. He noted, however, that the country has no such proven capability and is not believed to have yet tested a fully integrated long-range ballistic missile, although it has tested some components.

Still, Adm Winnefeld said the United States “takes a conservative approach” and must assume North Korea will have an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capability sooner rather than later.

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