The Obama administration has altered the U.S. missile defense program to focus more on North Korea. On Friday, the Pentagon announced it would abandon plans to complete a missile shield in Europe and instead install North Korea-aimed interceptors. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled the plans in Washington.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel: "Today Iím announcing a series of steps the United States will take to stay ahead of the challenge posed by Iran and North Koreaís development of longer-range ballistic missile capabilities. The United States has missile defense systems in place to protect us from limited ICBM attacks, but North Korea in particular has recently made advances in its capabilities and has engaged in a series of irresponsible and reckless provocations."
The move reverses a decision to stop the expansion of a missile field at Alaskaís Fort Greely, adding 14 new interceptors. It will also see the deployment of a second missile defense radar in Japan. The plans for a U.S. missile system in Europe have long stoked tensions with Russia. Despite dropping plans for staging missile interceptors in eastern Europe, the United States still plans to complete a land-based missile shield program in Central Europe.