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Pentagon announces missile defense review

The Pentagon announced a missile defense review on Friday, following Senate testimony by Defense Department official Leonor Tomero. File Photo by Missile Defense Agency/UPI
The Pentagon announced a missile defense review on Friday, following Senate testimony by Defense Department official Leonor Tomero. File Photo by Missile Defense Agency/UPI | License Photo

June 11 (UPI) -- The Defense Department will undertake a missile defense review in coming months to correlate its needs against rising nuclear powers, a Pentagon official said.

Leonor Tomero, deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy, told the Senate Armed Services Committee this week that the review will "align with the National Defense Strategy and contribute to the department's approach to integrated deterrence."

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The review, to be completed by February 2022, will be coordinated across the Defense Department, and include input from the Missile Defense Agency, NORAD and the U.S. Northern Command, which specifically is charged with defending the U.S. homeland.

A new National Defense Strategy is also expected to be unveiled at about the same time.

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The announcement was expected, and prompted by what the Defense Department, in a statement on Friday, said was "nations such as North Korea, Iran, Russia and China all maturing their missile technology."

The review will focus on defense against "rogue states' ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missiles]" and protections against them.

It will also evaluate U.S. missile defense capabilities to operate with allies and partners, and the United States' ability to assure allies of security partnerships.

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"Our regional missile defenses will continue to contribute to the United States' ability to operate throughout the world," Tomero said. "They will enable regional and transregional military operations and exercises, providing force protection in contested environments."

Improvement of missile defenses has for some time been a Pentagon priority.

Last week, Mike White, hypersonics director in the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering office, told the non-profit Center for Strategic and International Studies last week that the U.S. military's program to develop hypersonic missiles is accelerating.

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White referred to hypersonics as a key element of the Defense Department's modernization efforts.

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