In the wake of increased aggression from North Korea and the development of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the hostile regime, the Missile Defense Agency installed the last of 44 interceptors for a Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system ahead of schedule at Alaska’s Fort Greeley this month.
A Boeing facility in Huntsville has taken a leading role in providing the technological advances necessary to bolster defenses as tensions– and budgets– rise.
Earlier this year, a test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system successfully intercepted a mock long-range rocket traveling at speeds comparable to an ICBM. The MDA said the Boeing-managed test was an “incredible accomplishment,” with experts comparing the precision to one bullet hitting another bullet from an enormous distance, according to Reuters.
Improving the U.S. missile defense system has become a top priority for Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Saks), chairman of the subcommittee on strategic forces.
In an August letter to President Trump, Rogers requested that President Trump approve additional funding as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (NDAA 18).
President Trump has asked for an additional $4.4 billion above his initial request for missile defense systems. More investments could be in the works, with the Pentagon and MDA aiming to increase from 44 interceptors to a proposed 64, according to Defense News.
“I want to commend President Trump for agreeing with us that our nation needs additional missile defense resources in light of the evolving North Korean ballistic missile threats,” Rogers said. “The request from the Office of Management and Budget this week on behalf of President Trump will aid our push for increased discrimination capabilities and the addition of a new field at Fort Greely will help build our capacity.”
When asked about the additional funding and the significant improvements to the missile defense system being developed at the Boeing facility in his district, U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) expressed his pride and enthusiasm for the new plan.
“These key investments will ensure we remain far ahead of any threat,” Brooks said, “I am proud of the numerous national security efforts developed by the missile defense community right here in the Tennessee Valley.”
The increase in defense spending is a boon to the Alabama economy. Boeing employs 2,700 employees and has plans to add 400 more by 2020. The aerospace manufacturer’s main Alabama operations are at two facilities in Huntsville, located in the Jetplex Industrial Park and at Redstone Gateway.