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How US Military Commanders In Hawaii Are Bracing For A North Korean Ballistic Missile
North Korea, China and ISIS were center stage — with some differences of opinion on coping with Kim Jong Un — at the annual Chamber of Commerce Hawaii military partnership conference Friday at the state Capitol.
Top commanders in Hawaii met with the business community to provide an update on plans. This year, with the state confirmed to be in range of newly developed North Korean ballistic missiles, a diversity of views on the threat level and how to deal with it emerged in one panel discussion on the topic.
“There is a real threat (to Hawaii),” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Dan “Fig” Leaf, a former U.S. Pacific Command deputy commander.
Leaf, one of the panelists, noted Hawaii’s proximity to North Korea.
“We’re closer. Easier,” Leaf said, adding that the North’s nuclear missiles “are not aimed at South Korea, not at Japan.”
“The U.S. is the designated recipient — and that’s because we are public enemy No. 1 to North Korea,” he said.
During a question-and-answer session, state Rep. Gene Ward asked why the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, which has an Aegis Ashore missile firing test site, isn’t being weaponized for Hawaii’s defense.
“The question that you raise with regards to the defense of Hawaii — we are taking steps toward that,” said George Kailiwai, director of the requirements and resources directorate at Pacific Command, another panelist.
A “homeland defense radar” for Hawaii “is a high priority within the command,” Kailiwai said. Initial operating capability is expected in 2023. The possibility of adding interceptor missiles in Hawaii is “still under study,” he said after the session.
“We’re looking at the sensor first and then the interceptors second,” Kailiwai said.
Several hundred people attended the chamber’s Military Affairs Council’s partnership conference, which started at the state Capitol and ended with a luncheon at Washington Place and keynote speech by Adm. Harry Harris, head of the Pacific Command.
Harris said U.S. opportunities in the region are abundant, “but the path is burdened by several considerable challenges to include China, ISIS and, of course, North Korea.”
Some see actions by an increasingly assertive China in the East and South China Sea “as simply opportunistic,” he said, adding, “I do not. I view them as coordinated, methodical and strategic.”
Maj. Gen. Russ Mack, deputy commander of Pacific Air Forces, had earlier said China “is a strategic competitor moving quickly to shift the balance of power away from the United States.”
Harris also said that “ISIS is here in the Indo-Pacific and a clear threat that must be defeated.” He noted fighting in the southern Philippine city of Marawi last year in which government forces battled hundreds of ISIS-aligned fighters.
Marawi “serves as a wake-up call and rallying cry” for concern over radicals pushed out of Iraq and Syria who are spreading their ideology in the Pacific, Harris said.
North Korea, meanwhile, is the “most immediate challenge,” Harris said, with its leader, Kim, firing more missiles in six years than his father and grandfather combined.
Air raid sirens blared across Hawaii on Dec. 1 in a new monthly test in response to the emerging North Korean nuclear threat.
“While the possibility of a nuclear strike is slim, we now live in a world where we must be prepared for every contingency,” Harris said.
At the earlier panel discussion, some maintained that hurricanes and China are greater threats than North Korea.
Japan is buying two Aegis Ashore missile defense systems to protect against North Korean ballistic missiles and Chinese cruise missiles, and the country’s defense minister, Itsunori Onodera, visited the Kauai Aegis Ashore facility Wednesday.
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency previously said a new defensive missile under development with Japan, the SM-3 Block IIA, could add a second layer of missile defense for Hawaii beyond ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California.
The SM-3 IIA hasn’t yet been tested against intercontinental-range targets, but test-firings are planned this fiscal year from Kauai’s Aegis Ashore and from the Pearl Harbor destroyer USS John Paul Jones against missiles of intermediate range or less.
©2018 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Former Marine Commandant tells Trump that pardoning troops accused of war crimes 'relinquishes the moral high ground'
Former Marine Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak has issued a statement urging President Donald Trump and members of Congress to oppose pardons for those accused or convicted of war crimes since, he argued, it would "relinquish the United States' moral high ground."
"If President Trump follows through on reports that he will mark Memorial Day by pardoning individuals accused or convicted of war crimes, he will betray these ideals and undermine decades of precedent in American military justice that has contributed to making our country's fighting forces the envy of the world," said Krulak, who served in the Marine Corps for more than three decades before retiring in 1999 as the 31st Commandant.
Editor's Note: The following story highlights a veteran at Associated Materials. Committed to including talented members of the military community in its workplace, Associated Materials Incorporated is a client of Hirepurpose, a Task & Purpose sister company. Learn more here.
Associated Materials, a residential and commercial siding and window manufacturer based in Ohio, employs people from a variety of backgrounds. The company gives them an opportunity to work hard and grow within the organization. For Tim Betsinger, Elizabeth Dennis, and Tanika Carroll, all military veterans with wide-ranging experience, Associated Materials has provided a work environment similar to the military and a company culture that feels more like family than work.
President Donald Trump will nominate Barbara Barrett to serve as the next Air Force secretary, the president announced on Tuesday.
"I am pleased to announce my nomination of Barbara Barrett of Arizona, and former Chairman of the Aerospace Corporation, to be the next Secretary of the Air Force," Trump tweeted. "She will be an outstanding Secretary! #FlyFightWin"
The Trump administration is trying to assure Congress that it does not want to start a war with Iran, but some lawmakers who fought in Iraq are not so sure.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford both briefed Congress on Tuesday about Iran. Shanahan told reporters earlier on Tuesday that the U.S. military buildup in the region has stopped Iran and its proxies from attacking U.S. forces, but the crisis is not yet over.
"We've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans," Shanahan said. "That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away. Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump warned on Monday Iran would be met with "great force" if it attacked U.S. interests in the Middle East, and government sources said Washington strongly suspects Shi'ite militias with ties to Tehran were behind a rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone.
"I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything," Trump told reporters as he left the White House on Monday evening for an event in Pennsylvania. "If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will."